Posted June. 10, 2017 07:30,
Updated June. 10, 2017 07:34
The Moon Jae-in administration’s decision to postpone the deployment of THAAD missile system is emerging as core agenda for the upcoming summit meeting between South Korea and the U.S.
On Thursday (local time), the U.S. Department of State announced that U.S. President Donald Trump discussed the pending issues on THAAD deployment including South Korea’s decision to conduct an environmental impact assessment on additional deployment of the missile defense system. This marks the first time that President Trump has made a public announcement about having a discussion on THAAD issues with his top-ranking diplomats and security officials since the controversy erupted surrounding the omissions in THAAD report by South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Heather Nauert, the spokesperson of the U.S. State Department, said, “Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Mattis” joined President Trump at the White House in the Oval Office to “talk about the ongoing situation on the Korean Peninsula and also in the Gulf,” adding that the issue on suspending the deployment of the THAAD was also discussed.
Spokesperson Nauert said that THAAD is something that is “incredibly important” to the U.S. government, further stating that THAAD was an “alliance decision” and a “conversation taken at the highest level.” Her remarks are interpreted as an indirect expression of dissatisfaction with the Moon administration, which has decided to suspend the implementation of four additional THAAD missile launchers, citing the report omissions and necessity of an environmental assessment, despite the fact that the deployment had already been agreed to between the U.S. and South Korea against the nuclear threat from Pyongyang.
“We would continue to say that THAAD was an alliance decision at the time, and we continue to work closely with the ROK throughout the process,” said the spokesperson. “Our position has been clear all along. We are putting pressure on other nations around the world, not just in that region of the world but all around the world,” she added, reaffirming that the policy focus towards North Korea at the moment lies in sanctions rather than dialogue.