South Korea to announce site of THAAD
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[July 13, 2016]
By Jack Kim and Ju-min Park
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's defense
ministry said it will announce later on Wednesday the location of a U.S.
military THAAD anti-missile defense unit, a planned deployment that has
angered China and prompted North Korea to threaten retaliation.
South Korea and the United States announced on Friday that they had made
a final decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense
(THAAD) system in the South to counter the missile threat from North
Korea, amid escalating tensions between the allies and the North.
North Korea's military on Monday threatened to retaliate against the
move by the South and the United States by taking "physical response"
once the location and time of the deployment are decided.
South Korea's defense ministry said it will announce the site of the
anti-missile system at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT). It has said it aims to have
THAAD operational by the end of 2017.The county of Seongju, near the
southeastern city of Daegu, has been selected for the deployment, South
Korean media reported on Wednesday. South Korea's defense ministry
declined to confirm the reports.
Positioning THAAD there would allow protection for major U.S. military
installations in the South from North Korean ballistic missiles, while
limiting the range of its radar from reaching into China, media reports
The THAAD system will be paid for by the United States.
"The site and the foundation and facilities will be provided by us,"
South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo told a parliament committee on
THAAD is built by Lockheed Martin Corp <LMT.N> and designed to defend
against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles by intercepting them
high in the Earth's atmosphere, or outside it. The United States already
has a THAAD system in Guam.
The decision to deploy THAAD is the latest move to squeeze the
increasingly isolated North Korea, but China worries the system's radar
will be able to track its own military capabilities. Russia also opposes
South Korea and the United States have said THAAD will only be used in
defense against North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile
capabilities, but China swiftly protested the move saying it would
destabilize the regional security balance.
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South Korean Defense Ministry's Deputy Minister Yoo Jeh-seung (R)
shakes hands with the commander of U.S. Forces Korea's Eighth Army
Lieutenant General Thomas Vandal after a news conference about
deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
anti-missile system, at the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea,
July 8, 2016. You Seung-kwan/News1 via REUTERS
South Korea's Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho told parliament on
Wednesday that Seoul was making contingency plans in case China took
action in response to the deployment, said Yonhap news agency. But
he added: "I don't think there will be a major retaliatory action in
terms of the economy", reported Yonhap.
North Korea conducted its latest test of a submarine-launched
ballistic missile (SLBM) a day after the announcement of the THAAD
deployment. The launch was seen as a failure
Speculation in local media about possible THAAD sites has fueled
protests from residents of areas mentioned.
Residents of Seongju have already been protesting the possible
deployment and its county commissioner has been on a hunger strike
in protest, said county official Kim Jee-hyun.
"We are all against THAAD deployment," Kim told Reuters.
(Editing by Michael Perry and Tony Munroe)
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