South Korea says it will abide by US missile defense agreement

June 9, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea — Saying North Korea poses a “very serious and urgent threat,” South Korea’s national security adviser said the new government will abide by the agreement with the United States on deploying a controversial missile-defense system.

The reassurance came as the North claimed it has tested a new type of cruise missile that could strike U.S. and South Korean warships “at will” if it’s attacked. The report on the state-run Korean Central News Agency didn’t give a date, but it was clearly referring to a missile test conducted Thursday.

Chung Eui-yong, head of South Korea’s national security office, said four missiles were fired Thursday. Military officials said the missiles traveled about 125 miles before splashing into the sea off North Korea’s east coast.

The launch followed the departure of the U.S. aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan from the region after conducting joint exercises with allies South Korea and Japan.

The growing threat from the North — which insists it will continue with its nuclear weapons program despite international pressure and economic sanctions — was cited as the reason for last year’s agreement by Washington and Seoul to station a Terminal High Altitude Area defense system on the divided peninsula.

But the decision was made by former President Park Geun-hye, who has been ousted and jailed over an influence-peddling and corruption scandal…

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