The anti-missile system the U.S. deployed to South Korea is reportedly operational.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile shield in South Korea has “initial operating capability to defend against North Korean missiles,” U.S. officials told Reuters Monday. THAAD is ready to conduct initial operation missions, but it will not be fully operational for months.
THAAD has “initial intercept capability,” defense officials told NBC Nightly News.
The U.S. and South Korea announced plans to deploy THAAD on the peninsula last July, and the U.S. military began deploying the missile shield after North Korea launched a salvo of four extended-range Scuds in early March.
China has expressed strong opposition to the deployment of THAAD, arguing that the anti-missile system could peer into Chinese territory and pose a threat to national security.
Some South Korean citizens, particularly those living near the deployment site, have firmly opposed THAAD, claiming that they will be the targets if North Korea chooses to strike the South.
Experts appear generally in favor of the anti-missile system. “THAAD is better than anything South Korea has or will have for decades,” Bruce Klingner, who specializes in Korean and Japanese affairs as the senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, previously told TheDCNF, “It is imperative that we deploy it to augment the defense of Korea and the U.S. forces deployed there.”
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