U.S. may send THAAD missile defense system to South Korea


The Pentagon has confirmed the U.S. is considering deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense missile system to South Korea in response to provocations by the North.

"We are considering very carefully whether or not to put a THAAD in South Korea. We’re doing site surveys. We’re working with the government of South Korea now to determine if that is the right thing to do," U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said Tuesday at a forum organized by the Council on Foreign Relations on U.S. policy toward the Asia-Pacific region.

Although moving the system is challenging, Work said that once the "very, very important national-level decision" to do so has been made, the system will "become an important part of the regional defense."

U.S. considering sending #THAAD battery to #SouthKorea – @DepSecDefWork @USEmbassySeoul @USFKPAO | http://t.co/BxXLbTdg9vâ € ” U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) October 3, 2014

South Korean officials, however, maintain has have been no bilateral discussion on the deployment of a THAAD system to South Korea.

If deployed to South Korea, the system could be perceived as a threat by China and Russia. The deputy secretary of defense said that U.S. officials have attempted to alleviate their concerns.

"We’ve emphasized to both China and to Russia these are not strategic anti-ballistic missiles," said Work. "They are essentially designed to address regional threats against both our allies, against U.S. territory. So we continue to work with the Russians and the Chinese to allay any concerns they have, but they both have indicated concerns."