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U.S. missile defense system aimed only at N. Korea, Iran, not China, Russia: White House

All News 05:04 June 08, 2016

By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, June 7 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. missile defense system is designed to counter "limited attacks from Iran and North Korea" and are not aimed at the strategic deterrence forces of Russia and China, the White House said Tuesday.

The White House Office of Management and Budget made the point in a policy statement, expressing opposition to a proposal to remove the word "limited" from a section of the National Missile Defense Act of 1999 that says the U.S. policy is to deploy "an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending ... against limited ballistic missile attack."

The proposal to strike the word was in next year's defense budget bill introduced to the Senate.

"The administration appreciates the Committee's continued support for the Nation's ballistic missile defense programs. However, the Administration strongly objects to section 1665, which would amend section 2 of the National Missile Defense Act of 1999 by striking 'limited,'" the White House said.

"The inclusion of this word is specifically intended to convey that the U.S. homeland missile defense system is designed and deployed to counter limited attacks (in number and sophistication) from Iran and North Korea, and not to counter the strategic deterrence forces of Russia and China," it said.

The office also said the administration continues to believe that the most reliable and effective means to deter major nuclear powers from ever contemplating an attack on the United States is "by maintaining a modern and robust strategic nuclear deterrent force."

China and Russia have expressed concern about the U.S. desire to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system to South Korea, saying the system can be used against them, despite repeated assurances from Washington that the system is only aimed at North Korea.

Following the North's long-range missile test in February, Seoul and Washington launched official talks about placing a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery in the South to bolster defense against missile threats from the communist nation.

The Pentagon said earlier this week that the THAAD talks are moving forward as scheduled, and the two sides are now focused on working out unspecified "complicated issues." Sources in the South said the talks have moved forward to a point where the two sides are now looking into multiple candidate sites for deployment.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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