Go to contents

Defense ministers of S. Korea, U.S. agree to deploy THAAD

Defense ministers of S. Korea, U.S. agree to deploy THAAD

Posted February. 01, 2017 06:57,   

Updated February. 01, 2017 07:05


South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis agreed on Tuesday that the two countries will continue to strengthen the capability, including the terminal high altitude area defense system, to cope with North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.

According to the South Korean Defense Ministry, the two defense ministers have reaffirmed the decision to robustly maintain the preparedness of alliance that calls for the aforementioned measure in their telephone call that lasted for about 20 minutes on the day.

On the North’s recent threat to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, the two sides made assessment that Pyongyang could make misjudgment in the wake of transitional situations in South Korea and the U.S. to launch provocations anytime. “The two sides agreed to thoroughly maintain the preparedness to deter and overwhelmingly cope with the North’s provocations by banking on the strong extended deterrence of the U.S., such as sorties into the Korean Peninsula of strategic bombers, and robust joint defense readiness,” said a South Korean defense ministry source.

Despite China’s retaliatory measures against South Korea for THAAD, including ban on Korean pop culture, Seoul and Washington have reaffirmed the plan to deploy THAAD in the South as planned. “The ministers of the two countries concurred that the two allies will deploy THAAD without delays,” said a South Korean military source. “(One THAAD bastion) could be deployed as early as in the first half of this year.”

The new U.S. defense secretary will visit South Korea on Thursday and Friday in his first overseas tour since inauguration, which is the first time since then Defense Secretary William Cohen's visit in 1997. The South Korean military quoted Mattis as saying to Minister Han that “(The visit) is reflection of Washington’s recognition about the importance of response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and of the Seoul-Washington alliance.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis will pay a courtesy visit to Acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn and National Security Office Chief Kim Kwan-jin on Thursday, before holding talks with Defense Minister Han Min-koo at the South Korean Defense Ministry building in Seoul’s Yongsan district on Friday. After their talks, the two sides will reportedly issue stern warnings against Pyongyang for its threat of nuclear and missile provocations. Before meeting with Han on Friday, the U.S. defense secretary will also meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se to discuss pending diplomatic and national security issues. “Defense Secretary James Mattis recently expressed his wish to President Donald Trump that the latter will not use the term "mad dog" (his nickname while active duty military general),” a source in the South Korean defense ministry said. “We urge (the Korean media) to refrain from using the term as a gesture of hospitality for a secretary from our ally.”