South Korea orders probe into US missiles

2017-05-30 18:02
A US missile defence system called THAAD is installed on a golf course in Seongju, South Korea. (Kim Jun-beom, AP)

A US missile defence system called THAAD is installed on a golf course in Seongju, South Korea. (Kim Jun-beom, AP)

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Seoul - South Korea's new President Moon Jae-In on Tuesday ordered an investigation into why his office was kept in the dark about the arrival of four more launchers for a controversial US missile defence system, his spokesperson said.

The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system is being deployed in South Korea to counter threats from North Korea, which on Monday test-fired another missile as it seeks to develop its nuclear weapons programme.

Four more launchers

The left-leaning Moon, who took office this month following the ousting of impeached president Park Geun-Hye, has previously expressed ambivalence over THAAD. The system is strongly opposed by China for fear it will undermine its own military capabilities.

Moon's spokesperson said the defence ministry, while briefing the de facto transition team last week, had failed to tell the new government that four more launchers had been brought into the country.

The president has not yet reshuffled the cabinet appointed by his predecessor Park Geun-Hye.

"President Moon said it was very shocking," said spokesperson Yoon Young-Chan.

"He ordered (an investigation) to find out how the four additional launchers were brought into the country, who made such a decision, why this has not been disclosed to the people and why this has not been reported to the new administration even to date".

Nuclear threats

One THAAD battery is usually composed of a powerful X-band radar, six mobile launchers and 48 missiles.

Two missile launchers are already in place and the existence of four more had widely been suspected but not announced.

The conservative government under Park started installing the THAAD system to cope with North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.

Read more on:    moon jae-in  |  north korea  |  south korea  |  us

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