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South Korea Halts THAAD Deployment

The south Korean new government suspended the deployment of a controversial US missile defense system that strained relations with China and angered North Korea. Beijing has taken retaliatory economic measures against Seoul, including curtailing the flow of Chinese tourists and punishing South Korean companies in China. During the recent election campaign, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for the THAAD roll out to be halted and any decision about its future to be put before the country’s parliament.

Official from the presidential Blue House in Seoul said on Wednesday that the two launchers of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system that had been installed could remain but that four launchers that had yet to be deployed would not be set up until the administration completed an environmental assessment.

THAAD System:

1. radar detects incoming threat
2. The target is identified and engaged
3. Interceptor is fired from truck-mounted launcher
4. Interceptor uses kinetic energy to destroy incoming missiles
The defense system officially went into operation in late April on an abandoned golf course in Seongju, 135 miles southeast of Seoul, when two of six launchers were installed. United States military officials have said that the system is already “operational and has the ability to intercept North Korean missiles.”

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