“THAAD Will Be Focused Solely on North Korea and Not Any Third Party Nations”
South Korea and the United States officially announced their final decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).
Ryu Je-seung, Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy, and Thomas Vandal, Commander of the Eighth U.S. Army, explained the background of the THAAD deployment decision in a joint statement released on July 8, “North Korea’s nuclear tests and multiple ballistic missile tests, including the recent intermediate-range ballistic missile launches, highlight the grave threat that North Korea poses to the security and stability of the ROK and the entire Asia-Pacific region.”The two sides emphasized that the deployment of THAAD is a measure to enhance the missile defense posture of the South Korea-U.S. alliance in response to North Korea’s threats.
The two countries had been conducting formal discussions on the placement of THAAD with the U.S. Forces Korea since February, and declared that they made an Alliance decision to deploy THAAD as a defensive measure to ensure the security of the ROK and its people, and to protect Alliance military forces from North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile threats.
Ryu Je-seung, Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy, right, and Thomas Vandal, Commander of U.S. Forces Korea’s Eighth Army, left, make a formal announcement during a joint briefing on THAAD deployment at the Defense Ministry in Yongsan, Seoul, on July 8. (Newsis)
The Pentagon stated, “Through the past months of review, the ROK-.U.S. Joint Working Group confirmed the military effectiveness of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula and is in the final stage of preparing its recommendation for both the ROK minister of national defense and the U.S. secretary of defense regarding the optimal site in the Republic of Korea for the system’s effectiveness and for environmental, heath, and safety requirements.”Other locations around the country are now also considered to be potential candidates for the THAAD deployment, including Pyeongtaek in Gyeonggi province, Wonju in Gangwon province, Eumseong in South Chungcheong province, Chilgok in North Gyeongsang province, etc.
The two countries said, “When the THAAD system is deployed to the Korean Peninsula, it will be focused solely on North Korean nuclear and missile threats and would not be directed towards any third party nations.”