TOKYO, July 31 — Seoul and Washington have begun consultations on the matter of resuming the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on South Korean soil, the spokesman at the Ministry of National Defense said Monday.
“As for the deployment of six (THAAD) launchers, South Korea and the US will make a decision after consultations. Such discussion is currently going on, but further consultations are needed for the specific issues of when and how,” Moon Sang-gyun said, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
Moon noted that Seoul and Washington were expected to launch full-swing talks on additional THAAD launchers’ deployment in the near future.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who officially came to office on May 10, has repeatedly criticized the previous government under impeached leader Park Geun-hye for agreeing to host the THAAD system without first seeking parliamentary approval. Moon subsequently suspended the deployment in order to carry out an investigation into the environmental consequences of the move.
However, on Friday, North Korea conducted their second intercontinental ballistic missile test in less than a month. This latest provocation triggered Moon’s decision to resume deliveries of additional THAAD components.
Washington and Seoul have a similar stance with regard to the so-called North Korean threat, an issue which is becoming more pressing with the increasing number of missile tests by Pyongyang. In July last year, the United States and South Korea agreed to deploy the THAAD system in South Korea’s Seongju County, North Gyeongsang province.