No THAAD in South Korea, Yet

The US has continued to negotiate with the South Korean government on the potential deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system to the Peninsula to counter some of the North’s more sophisticated missile threats, a senior State Department official said July 24. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Frank Rose noted no decision to move forward with this deployment has been reached yet, but “there are good reasons in the future why we would want to make this decision,” he added. The THAAD system is well equipped to deal with North Korean extended-range Scud missiles and No Dong medium-range ballistic missiles. The North currently fields “hundreds” of these, Rose noted, and there is a capability gap on the Korean Peninsula to deal with these “upper-tier threats.” Rose said the Chinese have vocally opposed a potential THAAD deployment, arguing the system is designed to negate its strategic deterrent capabilities. “This is just flat out wrong,” Rose noted, adding the THAAD does not have the “technical capability” to intercept China’s strategic weapons as it is a theater defense system that does not have the range to negate the Chinese arsenal.