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US may discuss deployment of additional THAAD system to S. Korea: State Dept.

May 5, 2022 - 11:01 By Yonhap
Ned Price, spokesperson for the US Department of State, is seen answering questions in a press briefing at the department in Washington on Wednesday in this image captured from the department's website. (US Department of State)

WASHINGTON -- The United States may discuss deploying additional missile defense units to South Korea if requested by Seoul's incoming administration, a state department spokesperson said Wednesday.

The remarks come after North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Wednesday (Seoul time), marking its 14th known show of force this year.

"Every country has the inherent right to self-defense," Ned Price said when asked if the US might consider deploying additional THAAD units to South Korea if requested by Seoul's new Yoon Suk-yeol administration.

"As I said before, our commitment to the defense of our treaty allies, the ROK in this case, is ironclad. These will be discussions that we will have as allies regarding how best we can see to it that our commitment to the defense of the ROK remains ironclad," the spokesperson added, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.

Yoon earlier suggested deploying additional THAAD antimissile system units to deter North Korea's missile provocations, but his nominee for foreign minister, Park Jin, recently stressed the need for "in-depth discussions" following a careful review by the incoming administration on the necessity for additional THAAD units.

Seoul currently hosts a US THAAD unit, but the 2016 decision to host the unit received severe economic repercussions from China.

Yoon is set to take office on Tuesday.

The state department spokesperson argued China too has recognized the danger of North Korea's missile launches, adding, "each of these provocations has been a violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions."

"The PRC, of course, is a permanent member of the UN Security Council," he said, referring to China by its official name, the People's Republic of China.

"The fact that there are multiple UN Security Council resolutions, the fact that there are multiple statements that have emanated from the UN Security Council chamber itself is a testament to the fact that countries around the world, including the PRC, recognize that the DPRK's ballistic missile program is a source of instability," he added.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name. (Yonhap)