S Korea, US formally decide to deploy THAAD missile defence

The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system was taken jointly by the USA and South Korea, the Pentagon and the South Korean Defence Ministry has announced in a late night statement yesterday.

The allies' joint working group is now in the final stages of proposing a site for the THAAD deployment to the countries' defense chiefs, Yoo said.

USA and South Korean military officials have said they are ready to deploy an advanced United States missile defence system in South Korea to cope with North Korean threats - a move likely to raise strong objections in Beijing, Moscow and Pyongyang.

S outh Korea and the United States said on Friday that they would deploy a sophisticated missile defence system in South Korea, following an escalation in tensions between Pyongyang and its neighbour.

China's foreign ministry immediately responded, saying it strongly opposed the deployment, and urged Seoul and Washington to reconsider the move.

North Korea has repeatedly threatened to attack both its southern neighbor and the US, while regularly testing ballistic missiles and claiming to have tested a hydrogen bomb earlier this year. Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea's Eighth Army, left, joined the briefing. "But deployment of THAAD is a sensible military response to North Korea's missile threat", Alan Romberg, a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center, told Yonhap News Agency.

China's Foreign Ministry said on Friday the system would destabilize the security balance in the region without achieving anything to end the North's nuclear program. It's between us and the South Koreans, it's about protecting our own forces on the Korean peninsula and about protecting South Korea.

South Korea said it aims for a deployment "soon".

Pyongyang called the sanctions an "open declaration of war" and cautioned Washington that the East Asian nation will cease all diplomatic channels with the us until the sanctions were revoked.

As North Korea's closest neighbor, China has repeatedly said it views increased US military presence in the region as an affront to its security.

China, which shares a border with North Korea, has voiced opposition to THAAD since consultations between the US and South Korea began over the system.

The US maintains 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean War. "Hundreds of DPRK missiles targeting South Korea will fly at a much lower altitude of less than 20 km", it said. That was condemned by the U.N. Security Council as a test of a long-range missile in disguise, which the North is prohibited from doing under several Security Council resolutions. In April, North Korea said it successfully tested an engine designed for an intercontinental ballistic missile and in June launched what the US said appeared to be two intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

The U.S. Treasury Department identified Kim's date of birth as January 8, 1984, a rare official confirmation of his birthday.

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