Seoul to begin negotiation on US missile defence deployment

Seoul, Feb 7 (IANS) South Korea’s defence ministry on Sunday said Seoul and Washington have agreed to launch official negotiations on the deployment of an advanced US missile defence system, called Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), on the Korean peninsula.

Yoo Jeh-Seung, South Korea’s deputy defence minister for policy, said Seoul and Washington have shared a view that Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test and long-range missile launch show serious threats of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile to peace and stability in South Korea and the entire Asia-Pacific region.

To respond to mounting North Korea threats, South Korea and the US decided to start official negotiations on the THAAD deployment in Korea to enhance a joint missile defence posture, Xinhua quoted Yoo as saying.

The decision was made after US Forces in Korea (USFK)commander Curtis Scaparrotti requested it, Yoo said, noting that the official negotiation is aimed at jointly seeking the THAAD deployment and its possible operational capability at an earliest possible date.

The announcement came after North Korea on Sunday said it had successfully launched a Kwangmyongsong-4 Earth observation satellite into orbit less than 10 minutes after liftoff at 9.30 a.m. (local time).

Pyongyang claimed on January 6 that it had tested its first hydrogen bomb in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. It was the fourth of nuclear detonations following tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

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