North Korea’s nuclear test and multiple ballistic missile tests, including the recent intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) launches, highlight the grave threat that North Korea poses to the security and stability of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the entire Asia-Pacific region.
In response to the evolving threat posed by North Korea, the United States and the ROK have been conducting formal consultations regarding the feasibility of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery operated by U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) since early February, as a measure to improve the missile defense posture of the ROK-U.S. alliance.
Based on these consultations, the ROK and the United States made an alliance decision to deploy THAAD to USFK as a defensive measure to ensure the security of the ROK and its people, and to protect alliance military forces from North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile threats.
Through the past months of review, the ROK-U.S. Joint Working Group confirmed the military effectiveness of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula and is in the final stage of preparing its recommendation for both the ROK minister of national defense and the U.S. secretary of defense regarding the optimal site in the Republic of Korea for the system’s effectiveness and for environmental, health, and safety requirements.
The ROK and the United States are working closely to ensure the swift deployment of THAAD and will develop specific operational procedures.
When the THAAD system is deployed to the Korean Peninsula, it will be focused solely on North Korean nuclear and missile threats and would not be directed towards any third party nations. The THAAD deployment will contribute to a layered missile defense that will enhance the alliance’s existing missile defense capabilities against North Korean missile threats.