Two missile systems are installed, four others suspended. More on this below.
So-called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile systems are designed to intercept and down short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase.
Instead of warheads, they rely on impact kinetic energy to destroy them. A similar navy program is called the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. Aegis ashore is land-based.
South Koreans oppose THAADs, fearful of potential hazardous radiation in areas where they’re deployed if targeted in case of war.
Russia and China are surrounded by hostile US military bases, both countries furious about Pentagon deployment of THAADs targeting their homelands, giving America a first-strike advantage.
In March, Sergey Lavrov said THAADs “certainly affect our strategic forces, negatively affect(ing) the security not only of Russia but also China and other countries.”
Moscow and Beijing urged halting their installation. On the phony pretext of a North Korean threat, they’re aimed at Russia and China.
THAAD radar provocatively reaches deep into their territory. It’s highly mobile, able to be transported by air and made operational in hours.
THAAD missiles and radar pose a serious threat to Russian, Chinese, North Korean and overall regional security.
According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, President Moon Jae-in suspended installation of four THAAD missile systems, pending an environmental assessment expected to take up to a year to complete.
Two others in place will remain. Moon expressed outrage over the plan his predecessor approved to please Washington. He promised a probe into their undisclosed entry, Yonhap News saying:
“President Moon ordered to find out how the four additional rocket 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…”
“President Moon ordered his senior secretary for civil affairs and the NSO chief to find the truth behind the secret entry of the four rocket launchers.”
Moon said parliament didn’t approve the installation, lawmakers not told about it in advance.
His order isn’t likely to go down well in Washington, used to Seoul doing its bidding.