USFK commander: THAAD is safe, must be in southeast region
SEOUL, South Korea — The top U.S. commander in South Korea insisted Tuesday that an advanced missile defense system is safe and must be deployed in a southeastern region to maximize the area being defended.
Gen. Vincent Brooks also said the U.S. is discussing more options to enhance the layers of defense to guard against a growing threat from North Korea.
The U.S.-South Korean agreement to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, known as THAAD, in the farming region of Seongju has drawn protests from residents worried about health risks from the high powered radar and critics angry the government made the decision without broader consultations.
“We need to increase the layers of air and missile defense to counter the growing arsenal of missiles in North Korea,” Brooks said during a keynote speech at a meeting of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, a think tank.
Tensions have spiked on the peninsula since Pyongyang conducted its fourth underground nuclear test in January, followed by a long-range rocket launch and several missile tests despite a new round of toughened U.N. sanctions.
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