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U.S. senators urge solutions for early THAAD deployment

Posted June. 27, 2017 07:21,   

Updated June. 27, 2017 07:39


Ahead of the upcoming Seoul-Washington summit, U.S. Senators have urged President Donald Trump to seek early full deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in South Korea.

Nineteen senators including Republican Senator Cory Scott Gardner, and Democrat Senator Robert Menendez of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former U.S. Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio sent an open letter to President Trump to make the suggestion on Friday (local time).

“You and President Moon should seek a way to expedite the procedural review that is currently hindering the full deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system,” the senators wrote in the letter. “We ask you to reiterate to President Moon that the decision to deploy THAAD was an alliance decision, and protects both U.S. troops and millions of South Korean citizens, while not posing any threat to South Korea's neighbors.”

The letter stopped short of elaborating what "procedural review" was but it apparently means environmental impact assessment.

“The two countries should continue to deploy comprehensive defense capabilities and conduct joint military exercises to deter the North’s threat,” the U.S. senators said. They effectively denied the recent remarks in Washington by Moon Jung-in, President Moon’s special advisor for unification, national security and diplomacy that "If Pyongyang halts provocations, Seoul could discuss with Washington about reduction of South Korea-U.S. joint military drills."

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com