South Korea’s new government has signaled a willingness to consider expanding its use of the U.S.-deployed THAAD missile shield in the face of growing evidence that North Korea is preparing to conduct a nuclear test.
Defense experts say the move, which would reverse existing policy and be strongly opposed by China, makes sense in light of Beijing’s reluctance to curb Pyongyang’s recent series of missile launches.
The previous South Korean administration of Moon Jae-in opted out of deploying any additional U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile systems as a way to placate China in 2017, when South Korea received the shield. THAAD, designed to intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, has been deployed throughout the world.
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