A U.S. military official denied a media report that Pentagon has a plan to deploy new anti-missile assets in South Korea.
In a release Friday, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said its commander’s recent remark on a plan to build new missile defense capabilities on the Korean Peninsula does not involve the introduction of new equipment or units.
Earlier this week, U.S. Forces Korea commander Army Gen. Robert Abrams, said that the United States will deploy two “specific” anti-ballistic missile capabilities in South Korea this year in addition to one that is already in place. His remarks raised speculation that the U.S. might be considering bringing in an additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system or other advanced anti-missile assets to the peninsula.
“The new capabilities mentioned by Gen. Abrams do not involve introduction of new equipment or units to Korea,” USFK spokesperson Col. Lee Peters said.
The colonel declined to elaborate on what the capabilities refer to, citing “operational security,” but said they will ensure the USFK can “maintain a high ‘Fight Tonight’ readiness level and provide a robust combined defense posture to protect” South Korea from “any threat or adversary.”
Seoul’s defense ministry also said the two countries did not have discussions on deploying additional anti-missile assets on the peninsula.
“The USFK commander’s remarks appear to be an explanation on the process of continuously supplementing and developing its missile defense system to better respond to North Korea’s evolving threats,” the ministry said in a statement.
Meanwhile, local residents protesting the U.S.-made missile defense systems deployment for fear that their towns may turn into a primary target for North Korean attacks.
In addition, earlier in September 2017, a group of residents clashed with police to stop the deployment of U.S THAAD systems. Some protesters wound chains around their necks and locked their bodies onto trucks that blocked the roads to the site.