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Parts of controversial U.S. missile defense system arrive in South Korea

The Japan Times

SEOUL – U.S. missile launchers and other equipment needed to set up a controversial missile defense system have arrived in South Korea, the U.S. and South Korean militaries said Tuesday, a day after North Korea test-launched four ballistic missiles into the sea near Japan. The plans to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense 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. 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 is meant to 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.

South Korea's military intentionally left out THAAD missile launchers in report: Blue House

The Japan Times

SEOUL – South Korea's Defense Ministry "intentionally dropped" mentioning that four more launchers had been deployed for the controversial U.S. THAAD anti-missile system in a report to President Moon Jae-in's top aides, his office said on Wednesday. Moon has ordered a probe at the ministry of defense, saying it was "very shocking" the launchers had been brought in without being reported to the new government or to the public, presidential Blue House spokesman Yoon Young-chan said on Tuesday. The Defense Ministry intentionally omitted details about the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system battery (THAAD) in a report last week, when the new government was preparing for Moon's summit with U.S. President Donald Trump next month, Yoon told a briefing. "The Blue House has confirmed that the Defense Ministry has intentionally dropped the introduction of four more launchers in its report," Yoon said. Moon took office on May 10 without a transition period because a snap presidential election was held just two months after his predecessor, Park Geun-hye, was ousted in a corruption scandal.

U.S. says test of THAAD hits intermediate-range target missile for first time

The Japan Times

The United States announced the successful test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system Tuesday against an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) over the Pacific Ocean in a demonstration likely aimed at reassuring Asian allies nervous about surging tensions with North Korea. The test, which media reports had characterized as the first use of THAAD to defend against a simulated IRBM attack, came just a week after North Korea said it launched a long-range missile that experts said is capable of striking parts of Alaska. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said in a statement that the IRBM target was air-launched by a U.S. Air Force C-17 near Hawaii and that the THAAD system in Kodiak, Alaska, had "detected, tracked and intercepted the target." "The successful demonstration of THAAD against an IRBM-range missile threat bolsters the country's defensive capability against developing missile threats in North Korea and other countries around the globe and contributes to the broader strategic deterrence architecture," the MDA statement said. One element of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system, THAAD is designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles with ranges shorter than the intercontinental ballistic missile that North Korea launched on July 4. THAAD carries no warhead, but relies on the kinetic energy of impact to destroy incoming missiles, with some experts likening it to hitting a bullet with a bullet.

U.S. THAAD Missile Hits Test Target Amid Growing Pressure From North Korea

U.S. News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said it shot down a medium-range target ballistic missile in its latest test of the country's THAAD missile defense program, which is designed to protect the country against potential threats from countries such as North Korea and Iran.

U.S. and South Korea agree to deploy THAAD anti-missile system to counter North Korea

Los Angeles Times

Citing the threat from North Korea, Washington and Seoul have announced plans to deploy the U.S. anti-ballistic missile system known as THAAD in South Korea -- a move that could raise tensions with China. THAAD, which stands for Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, will "contribute to a layered missile defense that will enhance the alliance's existing missile defense capabilities against North Korean missile threats," the U.S. Defense Department said in a statement released late Thursday Washington time. The system "will be focused solely on North Korean nuclear and missile threats and would not be directed towards any third party nations," the statement added. China, which shares a border with North Korea, has objected to the possible deployment of the system in South Korea. Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said that such a move "goes far beyond the defense needs of the Korean Peninsula and the coverage would mean it will reach deep into the Asian continent."