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Not aware of US' plan to deploy missile def system: SKorea

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The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system being test fired. A file photo

SEOUL (BNS): South Korea said Thursday it is not aware of any plans by the US Government to deploy an advanced missile defence (BMD) system in its territory as reported by the media.

Reiterating its long-held position of not joining any US-led missile defence shield, Seoul said it does not consider deploying any missile defence system.

The reaction came a day after the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the Pentagon was reviewing plans to position a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) battery for which a site survey for a possible location in South Korea has been conducted.

"As of now, the South Korean defence ministry is unaware of whether the US is reviewing a plan to send the THAAD battery here," defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.

"We do not consider (the introduction) of the THAAD system, which is for the upper-tier defence system," different from "our own lower-tier one," Kim was quoted as saying by the official Yonhap news agency.

The THAAD anti-ballistic missile system has been designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles with the 'hit-to-kill' principle. The weapon is capable of intercepting the target in both endo- and exo-atmospheres.

Deploying a THAAD system to South Korea could represent an important incentive to encourage Seoul to cooperate more fully with the US and Japan in a planned regional missile defence system, the WSJ report had said.

The US could deploy its own THAAD system to South Korea temporarily, and then, in time, replace it with a system purchased by Seoul. Or it could allow South Korea to purchase its own, and jump ahead in the queue for the system, the report had said quoting a defence official.

Noting that Seoul "has not been informed of and has no information on the issue, and no discussions over the matter have been made between the two," Kim once again stressed that it is "impossible in structural terms for the South's indigenous system to be incorporated into the US one."

Seoul has been pushing to purchase the PAC-3 missiles from the US by 2020 to upgrade the current PAC-2 to shoot down low-flying missiles in their terminal phase.

In a move to effectively counter missiles at a higher altitude, the South has been developing long-range surface-to-air missiles (L-SAM), the S Korean official said.

Tags:

S Korea  BMD  THAAD  US  Missile Defence  
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