Troop Leader In South Korea Wants Deployment Of New Missile Defense
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[June 03, 2014]
SEOUL (Reuters) - The commander of
U.S. troops stationed in South Korea said on Tuesday he had proposed
deploying an advanced missile-defense system to the country, to counter
the growing threat of North Korea’s weapons capabilities.
In March, the North test fired a mid-range Rodong missile with a
range of more than 1,000 km (600 miles), prompting condemnation from
the U.N. Security Council, and being seen as preparing to conduct a
fourth nuclear test.
"I recommended the deployment of the THAAD (Theater High Altitude
Area Defense) missiles to South Korea," Yonhap News Agency quoted
General Curtis Scaparrotti, the commander of U.S. forces in South
Korea, as saying.
The top U.S. military official also acts as the head of the combined
command leading South Korea and U.S. forces defending the South,
which remains technically at war with North Korea under a truce that
ended the 1950-53 Korean War.
The United States has carried out a site survey in South Korea for
possible locations for the THAAD battery, but no final decisions
have been made to deploy the system, media have reported.
Scaparrotti said the United States had yet to start official
discussions with South Korean officials over the deployment.
South Korea's defense ministry said the country would review
cooperation with the United States on the deployment once Washington
formally made the proposal.
"I understand the U.S. defense department was internally studying
(the defense system's deployment). When a formal request for
cooperation comes in from the American side, the defense ministry
will consider it," ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a news
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South Korea has so far opted not to be part of the U.S. missile
defense partnership that covers the defense of Japan from the
North's missile threats.
Instead, it has been developing its own independent anti-missile
system, the Korean Air and Missile Defense System (KAMD).
North Korea may be closer than previously thought to putting a
nuclear warhead on a missile, some experts say, making a mockery of
years of U.N. sanctions to curb such a program. [ID:nL3N0O12OB]
The United States will not be deterred from plans to strengthen its
military position in Asia by emerging threats elsewhere, Defense
Secretary Chuck Hagel has said. [ID:nL1N0OG038]
The U.S. THAAD system is designed to intercept ballistic missiles at
(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Jack Kim and Clarence
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