U.S. moves parts of defence system

Updated - March 07, 2017 11:14 pm IST

Published - March 07, 2017 08:31 am IST - SEOUL

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency.

U.S. missile launchers and other equipment needed to set up a controversial missile defence system have arrived in South Korea, the U.S. and South Korean militaries said on Tuesday, a day after North Korea test-launched four ballistic missiles into the ocean near Japan.

The plans to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system, or THAAD, within this year have angered not only North Korea, but also China and Russia, which see the system’s powerful radars as a security threat.

China responded quickly, saying it will take “necessary measures” to protect itself and warning that the U.S. and South Korea should be prepared to bear the consequences.

In self defence

Washington and Seoul say the system is defensive and not meant to be a threat to Beijing or Moscow. The U.S. military said in a statement that THAAD can intercept and destroy short and medium range ballistic missiles during the last part of their flights.

“Continued provocative actions by North Korea, to include yesterday’s launch of multiple missiles, only confirm the prudence of our alliance decision last year to deploy THAAD to South Korea,” Adm. Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said in the statement.

Some South Korean liberal presidential candidates have said that the security benefits of having THAAD would be curtailed by worsened relations with neighbours China and Russia.

China’s condemnation of South Korea’s plans to deploy THAAD has triggered protests against a South Korean retail giant, Lotte, which agreed to provide one of its golf courses in southern South Korea as the site of THAAD.

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