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S. Korea to host first overseas THAAD deployment

Posted July. 14, 2016 07:22,   

Updated July. 14, 2016 07:54


If a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is deployed in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, it will be the first case of the U.S. advanced missile defense system being deployed at a site outside of the United States. The deployment can be interpreted as Washington taking North Korea’s possible nuclear attack on South Korea as a fact. The United States has so far created five battalions. Four of them have been deployed in Fort Bliss, Texas, while the other has been in operation at the U.S. military base on Guam since 2013.

Back then, when North Korea relocated to its east coast the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missiles with Guan within the strike range, the United States hurriedly moved a THAAD battalion from a mainland site to Guam. North Korea successfully launched the Musudan missile on June 22 after five failures, showing off its capability for striking the U.S. territory in Micronesia in the Pacific Ocean. THAAD radar systems, excluding interceptor missiles, are in operation in two U.S. military bases in Japan, Turkey, and Israel.

An official at the U.S. Forces Korea said Wednesday that the planned THAAD deployment in South Korea would not affect the THAAD battalion on Guam. The official suggested that as the Guam battalion is tasked with dealing with North Korea’s missile threats, it would not be relocated to South Korea, adding that a newly created battalion or one of the four units in the mainland U.S. will be deployed in the South.

윤상호군사전문기자 ysh1005@donga.com