U.S. reaffirms alliance with South Korea, THAAD deployment

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   March 10, 2017 at 8:18 AM
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March 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department reaffirmed the bilateral alliance with Seoul in the wake of a South Korea court decision to remove President Park Geun-hye from power, Yonhap reported Friday.

The statement was made as the U.S. House of Representatives gathered 93 signatures for a proposal condemning North Korea's development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and the need to immediately deploy THAAD in South Korea.

According to Voice of America, the House resolution calls for the prompt deployment of the U.S. missile defense system.

THAAD parts began arriving at a U.S. military base in South Korea this week, and deployment is to take place as planned despite Chinese retaliatory measures against South Korea.

H. Res. 92, which was introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., also condemns North Korea's ballistic missile program because it "demonstrates an increasing ability to reach the United States, and constitutes a credible threat to the security of the American people."

The resolution also "supports continued bilateral security cooperation between the United States and South Korea," a statement reaffirmed by the State Department on Friday after the South Korean court decision was announced.

In a statement to Yonhap, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said there are no changes to THAAD deployment plans and that the U.S.-South Korea alliance is a linchpin to U.S. and regional security interests.

A productive relationship is expected to prevail for the remaining term of acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, and with whoever is elected as the next president, the U.S. statement read.

THAAD parts began to arrive in South Korea this week.

North Korea's missile threats prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to warn of "very dire consequences" for Pyongyang, should Kim Jong Un engage in further provocations.

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