Unlike North Korea’s mostly untested ballistic missiles program, THAAD has been in use for several years by the USA military to protect units in places such as Guam and Hawaii from potential attack.
In North Korea’s first official response to the U.N.’s recent adoption of harsh sanctions over its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch, the North also warned Friday it will bolster its nuclear arsenal and make unspecified “strong and merciless physical” measures. Ministry officials said they couldn’t confirm whether they were fired by the weapons system referred to by the North Korean news agency.
“And we continue to urge the North Korean regime to refrain from provocative actions and statements that tend to aggravate tensions”, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Friday.
The ministry said that both sides will discuss a possibility for the deployment of the THAAD that will be operated in South Korea by the USFK as part of efforts to enhance the allies’ joint missile defense readiness.
The latest UN sanctions, drafted by the United States and China, the North’s main ally, punish the isolated country following its fourth nuclear test, in January, as well as last month’s satellite launch, which the United States and others say was really a test of ballistic missile technology.
Inside South Korea, the deployment is highly controversial.
However, another expert argued that THAAD will be deployed in South Korea sooner or later.
North Korea has threatened nuclear war in the past, but it is unclear just how advanced the country’s nuclear program really is.
On Thursday, North Korea reportedly launched multiple short-range missiles in the direction of the East Sea (Sea of Japan).
Initial discussion to deploy THAAD started following a purported North Korean hydrogen bomb test. The system is not without controversy however, and on Friday Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei reiterated Beijing’s opposition to the deployment of THAAD in South Korea, adding that China hoped relevant countries would “act cautiously and not damage China’s strategic security interests”.
The deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, is opposed by North Korea, China and Russian Federation.
“Seeing as China has kept mentioning THAAD, it can be said that (THAAD) is somewhat related to China making a strategic decision at the United Nations”, the official was quoted as saying.
On Thursday, South Korean President Park repeated a warning to the North to abandon its nuclear ambitions and said she would work to “end tyranny” by its leader.