South Korea has suspended the deployment of a controversial American missile defense system, with the new liberal administration declaring no further moves can take place until an environmental assessment is carried out–a process that could take a year or even two.
The decision highlights the potential for a rift between the United States under a Republican president and South Korea with its new liberal president, Moon Jae-in, who is due to visit President Trump in the White House later this month for their first meeting.
Moon’s office Wednesday said it would suspend the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system, an anti-missile battery designed to protect the South against North Korea but which has elicited strong opposition, particularly where it is being deployed.
An unnamed official said there was no hurry to get the system up and running, given that North Korea had been a threat to the South for years, the official said.
“[North Korea’s] nuclear tests have been going on for a long time, and so whether we must urgently install [the THAAD battery] by ignoring our legal procedures is a question,” he said.
[Washington Post] Read more: China on THAAD