If North Korea is to be believed, its recent missile tests have been dry runs for attacks on U.S. military bases in South Korea and Japan. In response, the U.S. has deployed at least one missile defense system to southeastern South Korea, with more on the way, that is now operational.
A South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman said that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, had been set up at an old golf course in a rural area outside the city of Daegu. The system, designed to shoot down missiles as they approach their targets (without using explosives of its own), has been the subject of controversy. The deployment had inspired protests as South Koreans think the system might make the area a target for North Korean attacks. Residents of the area are also concerned about the powerful radar that THAAD uses — both for health reasons and because it may be powerful enough to violate China’s borders. As THAAD would in theory limit North Korea’s ability to launch missiles, it could also be seen as a prelude to a preemptive strike by Donald Trump, since THAAD would limit Kim Jong-Un’s ability to fight back. South Korea is also holding elections this month in which THAAD has become a big issue.
The deployment of THAAD came shortly after the U.S. and South Korea conducted joint air force exercises that North Korea described as a “nuclear bomb-dropping drill.”
(Via Washington Post)