Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A South Korean government decision to deploy an exo-atmospheric missile defense interceptor is controversial among South Korean advocates for greater engagement.
Cheong Wook-sik, the director of Peace Network in the South, wrote in an article published Wednesday with Hankyoreh 21 the deployment of Standard Missile-3 interceptors would enhance U.S. missile defense but also create considerable tensions between South Korea and China.
"A fundamental problem will arise in China-South Korea relations, a 'THAAD-style disturbance' is likely to occur again," Cheong said, adding SM-3 deployment will also harm trust-building between North and South Korea.
THAAD is the U.S. missile defense battery deployed in central South Korea in 2016. The deployment triggered a rift between Seoul and Beijing, and has had a lasting impact on Chinese tourism to Korea, according to reports.
Cheong's article is a response to an Oct. 12 audit at South Korea's parliament.
Cheong said in his article that Major Gen. Kim Sun-ho, head of South Korea's joint chiefs of staff's force buildup planning bureau, confirmed a government decision in September 2017 to deploy SM-3 interceptors. South Korea is considering the deployment of the Block I category of the interceptors, Cheong said. Block I interceptors have an intercept altitude of 90 to 310 miles.
Cheong said the SM-3 missile interceptor deployment would "expand the U.S. missile defense line" on the Korean Peninsula and would work in conjunction with the AN/TPY-2 radar that is stationed with the THAAD battery in Seongju. The move would create controversy, he added.
North and South Korea continue to meet in Panmunjom for high-level military talks.
Seoul's defense ministry said Wednesday the two sides will meet for the 10th inter-Korea high-level military talks at the truce village to discuss the implementation of the "Sept. 19 military agreement," Korea Economic Daily reported.