South Korea’s foreign minister says Seoul is not considering any additional deployment of a controversial US missile system, THAAD, which has sparked anger both inside and outside the country.
Addressing lawmakers in parliament on Monday, Kang Kyung-wha said, “We are not considering any additional THAAD deployment.”
The first pieces of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) started arriving at the Osan Air Base in South Korea in March this year. A THAAD battery, comprising six interceptor launchers and a radar, was also sent by the US military to the air base in April.
A THAAD battery is capable of firing up to 48 interceptor missiles and consists of six truck-mounted launchers, fire control and communication equipment as well as a powerful X-band radar.
China, which has long opposed the deployment of the missile system so close to its borders, called on Washington and Seoul to remove the system. The two, however, say THAAD is needed in the face of threats from North Korea, which is developing nuclear weapons.
Asked by the main opposition Liberty Korea Party if Seoul would express regret to China over the missile system deployment, the foreign minister said that “there is nothing to apologize for.”
Kang further explained to lawmakers that THAAD deployment has nothing to do with another US missile system, known as MD.
"Let me be clear on this. As explained on many occasions before, the THAAD system is a self-defense measure that has nothing to do with the MD," the minister added.
THAAD deployment raised speculations that Seoul will invariably become part of MD system, but the south’s government repeatedly said it has no intention of joining the MD system and that it wants to build up its own “Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD)” system.