World / Asia-Pacific

US missile deployment helpful to security: ROK

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-07 19:41

SEOUL - Republic of Korea (ROK) defense chief said Tuesday that if the United States deploys its advanced missile- defense system on the Korean Peninsula, it would help his country' s security and defense.

Defense Minister Han Min-koo said during a parliamentary audit of the defense ministry that ROK had a limited tool available to respond to nuclear and missile threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

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If the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile- defense system is deployed on the Korean Peninsula, "it will help our security and defense," Han said, adding that he is viewing the THAAD system "from the security perspective."

Han explained that as the THAAD has a wide range of defense, it would contribute much to the defense of ROK and would become assets of the US Forces Korea (USFK).

US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as saying on Sept 30 that "we are working with the government of ROK now to determine if that (the deployment) is the right thing to do."

The ROK Defense Ministry refuted it the next day, saying the US neither has requested a THAAD battery deployment nor have the two countries held any discussions on the issue.

The THAAD is an advanced missile-defense system, with one battery composed of six mobile launchers and 48 missiles striking targets at an altitude of 40 to 150 km.

A battery is valued at about two trillion won (some $1.9 billion).

The Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), ROK's own missile-defense system which would be established by 2020, aims at intercepting missiles at an altitude of 20 to 40 km.

Regarding a local report that ROK and the US are drawing up a joint contingency plan to employ the US missile- defense system, Han said it would be a process of materializing the plan, to which the two allies have agreed.

It would not be a detailed operation plan, but a process and way of materializing concepts, Han said.

Defense ministers of ROK and the United States agreed to the "tailored deterrence strategy" during the annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) in 2013 to enhance defense readiness against the DPRK's nuclear and missile threats.

The defense chiefs from the two allies are scheduled to meet at the 2014 SCM later this month in Washington.

The US missile-defense system includes the THAAD, X-band radar and Global Hawk, the high-altitude, unmanned aerial vehicle.

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