South Korea’s defense minister said Friday THAAD deployment is not on the official agenda for discussion with the United States, according to South Korean press reports. Photo by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency
SEOUL, June 3 (UPI) -- The top defense officials of the United States, South Korea and Japan are to meet on Saturday but the deployment of U.S. anti-missile defense THAAD is not to be included on the official agenda, according to Seoul.
South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo said the question of THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, will not be on the agenda, Yonhap reported Friday.
That statement comes after reports suggested U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the advanced missile defense system would be covered during the talks, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
"It's not particularly the time to discuss [THAAD deployment] and the U.S., South Korea sides have the same idea," Han said, ahead of a discussion to be held on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, an annually held regional security forum in Asia.
The South Korean defense minister instead said sanctions and other forms of pressure on North Korea would be the focal point of talks with Carter and Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani.
The United States and South Korea are expected to discuss a bilateral military strategy known as 4D, which stands for joint tactic to detect, defend, disrupt and destroy missiles.
North Korea has previously denounced 4D operational plans and has suggested the strategy and joint military exercises heighten the risk of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula.
THAAD negotiations have occurred at infrequent intervals between the United States and South Korea, but China and Russia have voiced opposition to the deployment of the U.S. anti-missile defense system on the peninsula.