The U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is currently visiting Korea.
During his flight to Korea, he talked about the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. He said that there is no need for countries other than North Korea to worry about it.
The statement was obviously made with China in mind.
Jang Jae-soon has more from Washington, D.C.
During his flight to South Korea, the U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with reporters. He started by saying that this was his first visit to Korea since 1972, when he was a junior officer.
Then he revealed that he chose South Korea for his first visit after taking office in order to share information about North Korea with South Korea, an ally of the U.S.
Secretary Mattis said that North Korean provocations have been continuing and that they are unpredictable.
He then talked about his position on the deployment of THAAD in South Korea.
Secretary Mattis explained that the discussions about THAAD issues themselves are taking place purely due to North Korea's provocations.
Therefore, he emphasized that countries other than North Korea do not need to worry about THAAD.
With China's strong opposition against the deployment of THAAD, this statement could be interpreted as a message describing THAAD as a defense system against the North Korean threat and that it does not target China.
Yesterday, Secretary Mattis met with Korean officials, including Acting President Hwang Gyo-ahn, and stressed the necessity of THAAD.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Defense, Secretary Mattis said that defense measures like THAAD deployment should continue to be made in response to the growing threat from North Korea.
Jang Jae-soon reporting for Yonhap News from Washington.
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