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Friday, July 8, 2016, 12:40

ROK, US formally decide to deploy THAAD

By Xinhua & Agencies

ROK, US formally decide to deploy THAAD

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States on Friday announced their final decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in the US Forces Korea (USFK) despite continued oppositions from neighboring countries.

"South Korea and the United States made an alliance decision to deploy THAAD to USFK as a defensive measure to ensure the security of the South and its people, and to protect alliance military forces from North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile threats," the joint statement reads.

USFK stands for US Forces Korea, which includes 28,500 US troops based in ROK, also referred to as South Korea.

The military authorities jointly made an official announcement to deploy the advanced US missile defense system in the USFK stationed on the Korean peninsula to tackle the Democratic People' s Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear and missile threats.

"When the THAAD system is deployed to the Korean Peninsula, it will be focused solely on North Korean nuclear and missile threats and would not be directed towards any third party nations," the statement reads.

The DPRK is also referred to as North Korea.

Seoul and Washington reportedly aim to deploy one THAAD battery by the end of next year, which would be operated by the allied forces under the operational control of the USFK commander. A THAAD battery comprises six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, airborne radar and a fire control system.

The site for the deployment would be announced within weeks. Potential candidate sites are known to be Pyeongtaek in Gyeonggi province, Wonju in Gangwon province, Eumseong in South Chungcheong province, Chilgok in North Gyeongsang province and Gunsan in North Jeolla province.

The final decision came despite continued oppositions from China and Russia, which have opposed to the THAAD deployment on the Korean peninsula as the US missile defense system far exceeds ROK's actual defense needs and would directly threaten the strategic security of the two countries.

The joint statement said that if the THAAD is deployed on the Korean peninsula, it will not target any other third country but will be operated only in response to the DPRK's nuclear and missile threats.

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