South Korea Open to Discuss THAAD Deployment
luvsmiling, May 22, 2015, 10:30 a.m.
Seoul is ready for talks with Washington on the potential deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense batteries here, a Defense Ministry spokesman finally said Thursday. "We understand that Washington is considering stationing a THAAD battery in South Korea," ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters. "In principle, Seoul is ready to talk with Washington about the matter if Washington wants to."
"However, there's been no such request from Washington yet," he added. Despite their Rip van Winkle tone, the remarks are another sign that Seoul is abandoning the flimsy fiction that the matter has never come up. Senior U.S. government and military leaders have recently urged the deployment of THAAD batteries in South Korea, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit earlier this week.
Beijing is worried about the plan because the THAAD system forms the core of the U.S.' missile defense in the Pacific aimed at containing China. Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Min Kyung-wook on Wednesday said, "If there is a request from the U.S., we will make a decision on our own based on a comprehensive study of military effectiveness and national security."