THAAD lands: US begins deploying controversial anti-missile battery in S. Korea
SEOUL, South Korea — In a move sure to heighten tensions with China, the U.S. has begun deploying a controversial missile defense system in South Korea as the allies vow to bolster defenses against an increasingly menacing North.
The first parts of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system known as THAAD arrived at Osan Air Base on the divided peninsula shortly after Pyongyang launched four ballistic missiles into the sea near Japan on Monday.
“The first elements of THAAD arrived within the last 24 hours. It’s here now,” U.S. Forces Korea spokesman Christopher Bush told Stars and Stripes Tuesday morning.
He noted that U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his South Korean counterpart Han Min-koo agreed in a phone call last week that the anti-missile battery would be deployed as soon as possible.
“The arrival of the first elements of THAAD shows what as soon as possible means in the ROK-U.S. alliance,” he said, using the acronym for the Republic of Korea as the South is known formally.
Bush declined to give a specific timeline for the complete deployment of the system, which includes truck-mounted interceptors, an AN/TPY-2 radar that can detect and track ballistic missiles in descent, fire control.
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