S. Korean official suspended over US missile defense report

Jon Howard
June 6, 2017

The military authorities of Korea and the United States planned to complete the deployment before the end of this year. South Korean tour agency Mode Tour told Reuters it hopes China may in June lift a ban on selling group tours to South Korea.

Wee told investigators he did so because the South Korean and USA militaries decided not to publicize the four launchers' arrivals, presidential official Yoon Young-chan told a televised news conference. While it's true that there are signs of displeasure in Congress about the South Korean controversy over the omission of information from the Defense Ministry report, White House officials apparently understand that it will take South Korea a considerable amount of time to move forward with the THAAD deployment. Four additional launchers were to be placed after the environmental study finished. "This incident also leaves us with no choice but to investigate the whole process by which the THAAD deployment was inappropriately pushed through prior to the presidential election".

"The information was not included in official reports", Yun Bee, professor of political science and diplomacy at Sungkyunkwan University, told This Week in Asia.

It's unclear if Moon will go ahead with his campaign pledge to re-examine the THAAD deployment because a request for the withdrawal of the system's components could severely undermine ties with Washington, Seoul's most important ally, analysts say. Anyway, the president has a right to be informed about what is going on there.

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Seoul and Washington agreed to the Thaad deployment in July 2016. "We will have in-depth discussions on why corruption in the defence industry persists and if there are measures to improve the industry environment or institutions", Kim said, according to reports.

Moon demanded a probe, calling the incident "very shocking", according to his aides. The following day, deputy security chief Lee Sang-chul asked the ministry official, who was present at the briefing, and found that four additional launchers were brought into the country.

Yonhap reported that QQ Music had to previously remove its Korean music chart in March. Others fear this is the first step towards having THAAD withdrawn. "There are now only two launchers at the Seongju Golf Club, so it's natural that four more would be deployed". Korea began deploying THAAD in the south of the country in April.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is expected to discuss the North Korean nuclear and missile threat as well as China's military build-up in the South China Sea later this week when he addresses an Asia Security Summit in Singapore, an event sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a defense think-tank.

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