THAAD missile defense system now operational in ROK

World Today

THAAD protestIn this Friday, April 28, 2017, photo, South Koreans hold letters reading “NO THAAD” during a rally to oppose a plan to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, near the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A controversial missile defense system whose deployment has greatly concerned China is now operational in the Republic of Korea, a U.S. defense official said Monday.

Washington and Seoul agreed to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery deployment in July in the wake of a string of DPRK missile tests.

“It has reached initial intercept capability,” the official told the AFP on condition of anonymity.

This initial capability will be augmented later this year as other components arrive, officials said.

The THAAD system, which is being installed on a former golf course in the southern county of Seongju, is designed to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

The THAAD deployment comes as tension soars on the Korean peninsula following a series of missile launches by the DPRK and warnings from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump that military action is an “option on the table.”

Story by AFP