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THAAD in S. Korea comes up at White House discussions, Mattis: State Department

All Headlines 06:21 June 09, 2017

WASHINGTON, June 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's decision to suspend the deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system was a topic when U.S. President Donald Trump held an Oval Office meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the State Department spokesperson said.

At the start of the regular briefing, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Tillerson met with Mattis for a working breakfast at her department Thursday morning, and the two secretaries later joined Trump at the White House and talked about "the ongoing situation on the Korean peninsula and also in the Gulf."

While responding to questions about Seoul's decision to suspend THAAD's deployment pending an environmental assessment, Nauert said, "Those were parts of the conversations that he (Tillerson) had today with Secretary Mattis, and also at the White House."

Seoul's presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, said Wednesday that deployment of four launchers for the THAAD battery should wait until the environmental study is over, though two, already-deployed launchers won't be withdrawn, a decision that the U.S. could see as a setback to its efforts to fully deploy the system as soon as possible.

Nauert said that North Korea's latest missile launches, conducted earlier Thursday, show that THAAD is "something that's important to, not only to protect U.S. forces, to protect our alliance and to protect -- help to further strengthen the region."

"We are committed to our South Korean ally. That commitment remains ironclad. We are aware, certainly, of the situation and the suspension of additional launchers," she said. "We would continue to say that THAAD was an alliance decision at the time, and we continue to work closely with the ROK throughout their process."

THAAD in S. Korea comes up at White House discussions, Mattis: State Department - 1

jschang@yna.co.kr
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