US missile defence can enhance South Korea's security

SEOUL - South Korea's Defense Ministry said Friday (Jan 29) that deploying a United States (US) mobile missile defence system, dubbed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), in the East Asian country would enhance its security. Defense Ministry spokesman, Kim Min Seok, told a press briefing that he was aware of discussions being made in the US government to deploy the THAAD to the US forces stationed in South Korea, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Mr Kim said South Korea has never received any request from the US for the THAAD deployment, but noted that the deployment of the missile defence system would be helpful to South Korea's security and defence. Hen added that the South Korean government will review all possible measures to defend the country against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. His comments came after Pyongyang claimed on Jan 6 that it had tested its first hydrogen bomb. Seoul has forecast a long-range ballistic missile launch by the DPRK at any time as a follow-up provocation to the nuclear test.

North Korea had test-fired long-range ballistic missiles months before or after its three previous atomic bomb tests. Two months before its third nuclear test in February 2013, Pyongyang put a satellite into orbit with a three-stage Unha-3 rocket which Seoul and Washington saw as a ballistic missile. Mr Kim said the ministry is collecting and analysing information on the THAAD to determine the military feasibility of the mobile missile defence system. The THAAD, developed by the US defence company Lockheed Martin, is designed to shoot down missiles at an altitude of 40-150km. South Korea is developing its own missile defence technology, called Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), to intercept missiles at an altitude of less than 40km.