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US mulling THAAD in S Korea amid concerns from China, Russia

The first of two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptors is launched during a successful intercept test on Sept. 10, 2013.
The first of two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptors is launched during a successful intercept test on Sept. 10, 2013.
The United States says it is considering deploying an advanced missile system in South Korea, despite concerns from China and Russia over the move.
A high-ranking American defense official said that Washington is now trying to find an appropriate site for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense or THAAD in South Korea, Stars and Stripes reported on Wednesday.
“We’re working with the government of South Korea now to determine if that is the right thing to do,” said US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work in a forum in Washington DC hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.
The US official said the missiles were “strategic assets” of the United States and that their movement required “very, very important national level decision,” according to a transcript of his comments.
The development comes amid concerns in South Korea that the deployment could draw the ire of China.
A spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said on Wednesday that Seoul has had no discussion with Washington regarding the deployment of a politically sensitive THAAD battery in the country.
He added that South Korea has not received any request from the United States about the deployment of the system.
The Korean official also refused to comment whether Seoul supports the idea of deploying THAAD in the country. Many in South Korea believe that China deems the system as a threat.
There have also been reports that Seoul has been under pressure from Washington in order to put the advanced anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea as part of a regional system which also includes Japan.
Last year the United States deployed a THAAD system in Guam, an unincorporated territory of the United States in the western Pacific Ocean.
“We’ve emphasized to both China and to Russia that these are not strategic anti-ballistic missiles, that … they are essentially designed to address regional threats against both our allies and against US territory,” Work said during the forum.
“So we continue to work with the Russians and the Chinese to allay any concerns that they have, but they have both indicated concerns, without question,” he added.

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