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(LEAD) PM says THAAD deployment does not require parliamentary nod

All News 13:04 July 19, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 5-7)

SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Tuesday said the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system does not call for parliamentary approval, reiterating his previous stance on the matter despite demands being made by some opposition lawmakers.

"Currently, there are numerous weapon systems deployed by U.S. military in South Korea. They are stationed here on the basis of the Seoul-Washington defense agreement," Hwang said during a parliamentary session.

He added that the decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) can be seen as part of the existing arrangement, and thus does not call for parliamentary approval.

"North Korea has made various efforts to develop nuclear weapons. This year alone, Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test and fired many ballistic missiles," the premier pointed out.

Hwang added China is unlikely to retaliate against South Korea in economic areas due to the THAAD issue, adding Seoul-Beijing ties cannot be easily damaged.

The prime minister said he made efforts to explain the backgrounds of the THAAD deployment to Chinese President Xi Jinping in June, although he declined to comment on details.

China's foreign ministry has been expressing "strong discontent and firm opposition" since allies announced the plan earlier this month.

Hwang also pointed out that it is the role of the government to make all necessary efforts to protect the security and safety of the country. He said to meet this obligation, it is necessary to deploy the THAAD system in the country.

colin@yna.co.kr
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