US Army chief to visit S. Korea on THAAD

Su Jin Jang, Aug. 16, 2016, 10:20 a.m.

The US Army chief of staff is set to visit South Korea on Wednesday for a three-day trip to be briefed on the progress of the upcoming deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, according to South Korean and US military officials. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the 39th US Army chief of staff, is scheduled to hold a meeting with South Korea’s Army Chief of Staff Jang Jun-kyu on Friday, an Army official said.

It is part of his Aug. 15-23 trip to South Korea, China, Japan and Hawaii to visit his Asian counterparts, senior officials and US Pacific Command leaders.

According to the Uspacom, Milley will visit several US Army troops in the peninsula.

There, he will receive reports on Seoul-Washington’s plans to deploy the THAAD system here to defend against North Korean ballistic missiles. He will also receive updates on brigade deployment and the relocation of US Army units to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 

The decision to have the advanced missile defense system here was announced last month, after five months of discussion by the allies. 

Deploying the THAAD here has been a thorny issue among Koreans over its efficacy and potential diplomatic impact. There have also been concerns over its effectiveness and harmful effects on human health.

Milley’s visit marks the fourth time this month that a US general or admiral has paid a visit to the peninsula. 

US Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning and Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Admiral James D. Syring have also visited Korea to stress that the THAAD is fully capable of intercepting an incoming missile and poses no problems to human health or the environment.

Gen. Robert Brown, commander of the US Army Pacific, visited last week the 8th Army’s 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, which is expected to operate the THAAD.

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