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THAAD will be deployed to S. Korea in 8-10 months, general says

By KIM GAMEL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 4, 2016

SEOUL, South Korea — An advanced U.S. missile defense system will be deployed to South Korea in eight to 10 months to counter a growing threat from the North, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea said Friday.

Gen. Vincent Brooks said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system will be similar to the one stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

The remarks, made during a seminar hosted by the Association of the Republic of Korea Army in Seoul, gave the most specific timeline yet for the anti-missile battery’s deployment.

The U.S. and South Korea agreed in July to station THAAD on the divided peninsula after months of talks following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test. Officials have expressed increasing urgency about the move as Pyongyang conducted some two dozen ballistic missile tests and two underground nuclear tests this year, the most recent on Sept. 9.

However, the decision has run into opposition from local residents in the southeastern area where it is to be deployed as well as regional powerhouse China, which fears the powerful radar could be used against its military.

The THAAD system on Guam consists of an X-band radar and two truck-mounted launchers loaded with eight interceptors each. It’s designed to shoot down short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles at high altitudes. That enables it to complement the Patriot missiles already located on the peninsula in a layered defense system.

Brooks’ comments were reported by the Yonhap news agency and confirmed by USFK’s public affairs office.

The four-star general also was asked whether the U.S. might bring more strategic assets to South Korea to counter the North’s defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and sanctions. He said “that is under review,” according to Yonhap.

gamel.kim@stripes.com
Twitter: @kimgamel

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptor is launched from a THAAD battery during a test on Wake Island in 2015. The advanced U.S. missile defense system will be deployed to South Korea in the next eight to 10 months to counter a growing threat from the North, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea said Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.
BEN LISTERMAN/MISSILE DEFENSE AG

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