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MISSILE DEFENSE
US deploys more Patriot missiles in S. Korea
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Feb 13, 2016


S. Korea, US could begin missile shield talks next week: Seoul
Seoul (AFP) Feb 12, 2016 - South Korea could begin detailed discussions with Washington on bringing in an advanced US missile defence system opposed by China as early as next week, a senior official said Friday.

The two allies are setting up a joint task force to look into the rollout of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD), which would be deployed as a counter to North Korea's growing missile threat.

"The task force will be able to start discussing details concerning the THAAD deployment as early as next week," the senior official told journalists.

On the agenda are issues like location, cost-sharing, environmental protection and a timeline for installation.

The THAAD 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.

South Korea and the United States announced their intention to start discussions on THAAD's deployment last Sunday, just hours after North Korea launched a long-range rocket that both condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test.

The Pentagon has since stressed that it would like the system to be deployed in South Korea "as quickly as possible."

China and Russia argue that it would undermine stability and could trigger an arms race in a delicately balanced region, with Beijing voicing its "deep concern" over the deployment.

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 resistance to imposing harsh sanctions on Pyongyang -- triggered a change in Seoul's stance.

There is already a THAAD battery stationed in Guam and the other key US ally in the region, Japan, is also considering taking on the system.

The United States has temporarily deployed an additional Patriot missile battery in South Korea following North Korea's recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch, US Forces Korea said Saturday.

The move came as the two allies plan to start detailed discussions on bringing in an advanced, high-altitude US missile defence system opposed by China as early as next week.

"This deployment is part of an emergency deployment readiness exercise conducted in response to recent North Korean provocations," the US Forces Korea said in a press statement, referring to the temporary roll-out of a Patriot missile battery, which was flown from Fort Bliss, Texas this week.

"Exercises like this ensure we are always ready to defend against an attack from North Korea," said Lieutenant General Thomas Vandal, commander of the US Eighth Army.

The newly deployed Patriot battery is conducting ballistic missile defence training with the Eighth Army's 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade at Osan Air Base, some 47 kilometres (30 miles) south of Seoul.

The brigade has its own two Patriot battalions. One Patriot battalion is reportedly composed of four batteries.

Just hours after North Korea launched a long-range rocket that both condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test, South Korea and the United States announced their intention to start discussions on deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD).

The Pentagon has since stressed that it would like the system to be deployed in South Korea "as quickly as possible".

A senior South Korean defence ministry official said Friday detailed discussions on THAAD deployment would kick off as early as next week.

China and Russia argue that it would trigger an arms race in the region, with Beijing voicing its "deep concern" over the deployment.

South Korea had previously declined to formally discuss bringing in THAAD in deference to the sensitivities of China, its most important trade partner.

But North Korea's continued missile testing and frustration with Beijing's resistance to imposing harsh sanctions on Pyongyang apparently triggered a change in Seoul's stance.

.


Related Links
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
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