US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that Washington would deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea. “We will deploy as soon as possible a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery to our Korean ally”, the Xinhua news agency quoted Kerry, as saying on Wednesday at the start of two-day foreign and defense ministerial talks between the United States and South Korea. He vowed that United States would “do whatever is necessary” to defend its allies in the region.
“The recent dramatic increase in North Korean nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches remind us of the grave threat it poses to our collective security,” said US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter at the start of the talks, reiterating the US commitment to provide “extended deterrence, guaranteed by the full spectrum of US defense capabilities”.
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During the talks between the two sides reached an agreement to set up the “Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group.” China and Russia have expressed strong opposition to the THAAD deployment saying the system far exceeds South Korea’s actual defense needs and would directly threaten the strategic security of the two countries.
Some analysts have also stressed that deploying missile defense systems may fuel a dangerous arms race in Northeast Asia, as China and Russia would probably take counter-measures that the US and South Korea cannot afford.