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THAAD Deployment By US Begins In South Korea

By March 9, 2017 at 7:14 am
THAAD equipment arrive in South Korea (Photo : United States Forces Korea via Getty Images)

The deployment of the controversial U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system has begun in South Korea. On Monday night, two missile launchers and other equipment arrived in the country.

It was reported that the Lotte International Co Ltd board agreed to have a land swap with the government. It is believed that the United States will be beginning the system's operations by the end of this year, with deployment possibly being finished by August.

The defense ministry and the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) confirmed on Tuesday that the first batch of equipment of the THAAD battery arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek. It was brought aboard a C-17 transport aircraft.

The equipment will be placed at an undisclosed location until a golf course in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang Province, is ready to host the battery system. Delivery of other equipment and operational personnel will soon follow to complete the alliance decision on the deployment.

"Work to deploy THAAD has begun," a ministry official said. "South Korea and the United States will deploy the system at the earliest possible date."

Sources claimed that the anti-missile battery system could be deployed in two months as long as the parts are delivered without hitches. The unit may be operational as early as April.

The THAAD was initially expected to be installed after June. However, the ministry admitted that South Korea and the U.S. want to deploy the system as soon as possible to be able to respond to the threats from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

The controversial system was met with criticism after it was found that South Koreans could be further burdened by the cost of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system.

Opposition lawmakers said that most of the financial burden for THAAD may be placed on South Koreans' shoulders. They have pointed out that the U.S. has not allocated a budget for the missile defense system.

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