Seoul, South Korea. The new South Korean President was shocked to find out a number of additional THAAD missile systems were secretly brought into his country with no prior notice.
The American military Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system battery was initially deployed in March in the southeastern region of Seongju with just two of its maximum load of six launchers to counter a growing North Korean missile threat.
President Moon Jae-in has ordered a probe after the Defence Ministry failed to inform him that four more launchers for the controversial U.S. THAAD anti-missile system had been brought into the country, his spokesman said on Tuesday. The US military in South Korea did not have immediate comment on Moon’s comments. The South Korean military also did not immediately comment.
“Moon said it was very shocking” to hear the four additional launchers had been installed without being reported to the new government or to the public, presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan told a media briefing.
South Korean President Moon had campaigned on a more moderate approach to Pyongyang, calling for engagement even as the reclusive state pursues nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and threats of more sanctions.
China has been incensed over the THAAD deployment, fearing it could give the U.S. military the capability of seeing into its own missile systems, and could open the door to a wider deployment of the system, possibly in Japan and elsewhere, military analysts say.
America, which has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea, has a mutual defence treaty with Seoul dating back to the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce that has left the peninsula in a technical state of war.
South Korea’s Defence Ministry said on Tuesday it had conducted a joint drill with a US Air Force supersonic B-1B Lancer bomber on Monday that simulates the launch on nuclear capable cruise missiles. North Korea’s state media had earlier accused the United States of staging “a nuclear bomb dropping drill.”
The North Korean DPRK news agency reported leader Kim Jong Un supervised Monday’s test of a missile equipped with a new precision guidance system and an improved pre-launch automated sequence and a new mobile launch vehicle.
Kim Jong-Un said North Korea would develop more powerful weapons in multiple phases in accordance with its timetable to defend North Korea against the United States.”He expressed the conviction that it would make a greater leap forward in this spirit to send a bigger ‘gift package’ to the Yankees” in retaliation for American military provocation, DPRK quoted Kim as saying.
US President Trump has sent an unprecedented third US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz to Korea as part of a plan to “bring the matter to an end.”
Tags: Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK); Kim Jong-Un; North Korea; North Korean nuclear program; North Korean threat; South Korea; south korean defense ministry; Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD); THAAD; US missile defense systems; us-south korean plan