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Mattis: THAAD is to address 'real' N. Korea problem

All Headlines 11:29 June 03, 2017

SINGAPORE, June 3 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Saturday the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea is aimed at dealing with a "real" North Korean problem, not an imaginary one.

He also emphasized the "transparency" of the allies working together to counter the threats by the nuclear-armed communist North.

"I do not choose to send THAAD to South Korea and to protect the South Korean people from an imaginary problem. This is a real problem," Mattis said at a regional security forum under way in Singapore. "And the problem is not South Korea putting a purely defensive system for the defense of their own people. The problem is North Korea."

He was talking about Washington's efforts to strengthen partnerships with Beijing on the major challenge to not only the Asia-Pacific region but also the world.

China has opposed to the ongoing deployment by the U.S. Forces Korea of THAAD equipment on the peninsula.

"We are working transparently and in unison with the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to defend against growing threats posed by North Korea's aggressive and destabilizing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs," he said.

In South Korea, there have been allegations that the nation's defense ministry deliberately concealed some key details related to the installation of the THAAD equipment, with the new liberal administration of President Moon Jae-in seeking to review the THAAD deployment decision made by its conservative predecessor.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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