Seoul, July 31 (IANS) South Korea and the US on Monday started negotiating a full deployment of the controversial anti-missile system THAAD, in response to the recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch by North Korea.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Moon Sang-gyun said at a press conference that discussion about the deployment was underway, Efe news reported.
“As for the deployment of six (THAAD) launchers, South Korea and the US will make a decision after consultations,” Moon said.
The process started when South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for a temporary deployment of the remaining four batteries of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) following North Korea’s second ICBM test on July 28.
The THAAD shield, installed in an old golf course in Seongju, about 300 km southeast of Seoul, has been mired in controversy since its approval by the previous government.
According to Korean news agency Yonhap, besides protests by local farmers, who fear the deployment could adversely affect their health and crops, the deployment has sparked outrage from China, as it believes THAAD could be used to spy on its military bases.
North Korea’s ICBM flew almost 900 km and reached a maximum altitude of more than 3,700 km during the test on July 28, leading experts to believe it could reach a large part of US territory.
The Pentagon in response successfully carried out a new THAAD test in Alaska on July 30.