South Korea speeds up US missile defence over North's missile test

2017-07-29 22:29
A North Korean soldier looks to the south as a South Korean soldier stands guard. (Lee Jin-man, AP)

A North Korean soldier looks to the south as a South Korean soldier stands guard. (Lee Jin-man, AP)

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Seoul - North Korea's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test has prompted the South to speed up the deployment of a US missile defence system, Seoul's defence minister said on Saturday, despite strong protests from China.

The US military will also roll out "strategic assets" to the South following the North's missile test late Friday, Song Young-Moo said.

Parts of the THAAD defence system were brought into the country under the government of ousted president Park Geun-Hye, but new leader Moon Jae-In suspended deployment of the programme last month, citing the need for a new environmental impact assessment.

"We will soon start consultations on the tentative deployment" of the remaining components of the THAAD battery in response to Pyongyang's most recent test, the defence minister told journalists.

The THAAD battery comprises six interceptor missile launchers. Two launchers have been tentatively deployed at a golf course-turned-US military base in Seongju County, 300km south of Seoul.

The THAAD deployment has infuriated China, which has long argued it will destabilise the region.

"China expresses serious concern about the actions of the Republic of Korea," Beijing's ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement Saturday.

"China's resolute opposition to the deployment by the USA of the THAAD system in South Korea is consistent and clear. The THAAD system deployment cannot solve South Korea's security concerns, neither can it solve the problems facing the Korean peninsula.

"It will only make these problems more complicated."

Read more on:    south korea  |  north korea  |  military  |  north korea nuclear programme

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