by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) March 4, 2016
South Korea and the United States were set to open talks Friday on the possible deployment -- vehemently opposed by China -- of an advanced US missile defence system to counter the growing threat from North Korea.
South Korea's defence ministry said initial discussions would focus on potential locations, as well as cost-sharing and a timeline for installation of the THAAD system.
The system fires anti-ballistic missiles into the sky to smash into enemy missiles either inside or outside the Earth's atmosphere during their final flight phase.
The interceptor missiles carry no warheads, instead relying on kinetic energy to destroy their targets.
Seoul and Washington announced their intention to begin formal talks on its deployment following Pyongyang's long-range rocket launch on February 7, which was widely regarded as a covert ballistic missile test.
The first official meeting has been on hold amid fierce opposition from China and Russia, with Beijing warning the deployment had the potential to "destroy" relations with Seoul.
China sees THAAD as a threat to the effectiveness of its own nuclear deterrent, arguing that it could be used to monitor Chinese missile launches as far inland as Xian in the northwest.
The defence ministry in Seoul stressed Friday that any deployment would be solely aimed at countering North Korea's "increasing nuclear and missile threats".
"North Korea has continued its nuclear tests and long-range missile provocations and defied South Korea and the international community's deterrence efforts," the ministry said.
China is South Korea's most important trade partner and -- in deference to Beijing's sensitivities on the issue -- South Korea had previously declined to formally discuss bringing in THAAD.
But North Korea's continued testing -- and Beijing's previous resistance to imposing harsh sanctions on Pyongyang -- triggered a change in Seoul's stance.
There is already a THAAD battery stationed in Guam, and Japan, the US's other key ally in the region, is also considering taking on the system.
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|