U.S., South Korea close to agreement on THAAD

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Feb. 22, 2016 at 9:56 PM
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SEOUL, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The United States and South Korea are to sign an agreement within the week, opening the way to official discussions on the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile defense system on the peninsula.

The sophisticated Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, designed to deter long-range missiles, has been at the center of some controversy in recent weeks.

The United States has encouraged the deployment of THAAD in South Korea in the wake of recent North Korea provocations. China, however, has been critical of THAAD and is concerned the system could be used toward regional surveillance.

On Tuesday local time South Korean military officials said comprehensive discussions are to be held after the agreement is signed, but the actual signing has been postponed for a few days, YTN reported.

Moon Sang-gyun, a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry, said the agreement that has been worked out by a U.S.-South Korea joint working group was at the final stages, and a few details need to be agreed on.

Once the two sides settle on those details, an agreement would be signed and discussions would be underway regarding possible locations for THAAD deployment, cost and timing.

All discussions are to be held with U.S. Forces Korea.

South Korean newspaper Maeil Business reported the original plan was to have the agreement signed Tuesday, but postponements due to some differences between the two sides could be the cause of delay.

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