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`We make progress on missile defense umbrella,` says US military chief

`We make progress on missile defense umbrella,` says US military chief

Posted March. 28, 2015 07:08,   


Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Friday that he discussed about various achievements from the South Korea-U.S. alliance, including an integrated air missile defense against (North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile threat) with (Choi Yoon-hee, chairman of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of the Staff).” Meeting with Seoul’s Defense Minister Han Min-koo at the ministry building in Seoul’s Yongsan district on the day, Dempsey said that he had very important and productive talks with the top brass of the South Korean military.”

His remarks are drawing attention because they imply that the two sides discussed measures to cope with the North’s nuclear threat, including the U.S.-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, during the meeting between the South Korean and U.S. chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Earlier, during his flight to Japan prior to the visit to South Korea, the top U.S. military officer said, “"We`re making progress on building an integrated air and missile defense umbrella,” stressing inter-operability of missile defense systems of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan.

The South Korean military authority sought to block excessive interpretation of the remarks. “The THAAD issue was not discussed at the talks. There were no discussions about issues requiring policy review,” said a source in the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff. This statement can be interpreted that THAAD is an issue that requires highly thorough political and diplomatic judgment between South Korea and the U.S., and that it is premature to mention it at the military level.

Many watchers predict that discussions over the possible deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea will make headway following a visit to South Korea by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter early next month. “Chances are high that the U.S. will officially ask South Korea for the deployment of THAAD around the time when Carter visits Seoul," said a source in the South Korean military.