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USFK: Allies have agreed to deploy THAAD in Korea ASAP

All News 14:57 June 23, 2017

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Friday it has an "original" agreement with South Korea to deploy the THAAD missile defense system here as soon as possible.

It was in response to President Moon Jae-in's view that the deployment process has been "accelerated for some reason" that he does not know.

He has apparently questioned the transparency of the related procedures, especially at home.

"Originally, the alliance decided to deploy THAAD as soon as able in order to substantially improve our layered missile defense against North Korean missile threats," a USFK spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency.

She would not discuss specifics on the timeline, however, citing "operational security reasons."

The official stressed that the U.S. "trusts" South Korea's official stance that the THAAD deployment was an "alliance decision."

"We have worked closely and have been fully transparent with the ROK government throughout this process," she said, using the acronym for South Korea's formal name, the Republic of Korea.

It's rare for the USFK to issue a statement on the sensitive THAAD issue. It usually leaves it to the Pentagon or refers media to South Korea's defense ministry.

It came a day after a foreign news report said that Moon, a liberal leader who took office in early May, took issue with the timeline of the deployment of the U.S. strategic asset on the peninsula.

In an interview with Reuters, Moon was quoted as saying that just one THAAD interceptor launcher was originally scheduled to be installed this year, with five others to arrive in 2018.

In fact, two THAAD rocket launchers are in place at a former golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province. Four others were brought to South Korea earlier this year and stored at a local USFK base.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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