PYONGYANG, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The army of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea issued a warning Monday that it will take "physical measures" against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea by the United States.
Seoul and Washington announced Friday the deployment of the THAAD as part of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) stationed in South Korea to better tackle the so-called nuclear and missile threats from the DPRK.
Countries in the region including China and Russia have repeatedly voiced opposition to THAAD on the Korean Peninsula, whose radar can locate missiles far beyond the DPRK territory.
DEPLOYMENT AMID OPPOSITION
Under the operational control of the USFK commander, the allied forces of the United States and South Korea reportedly aim to deploy one THAAD battery by the end of next year. Its site would be announced within weeks.
A THAAD battery is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, an airborne radar and a fire control system.
THAAD, designed by the U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin, can shoot down missiles in a terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach. The X-band radar can spot a missile as far as 2,000 km with a forward-based mode and 600 km with a terminal mode. As the two have the same hardware, the terminal mode, which South Korea allegedly plans to adopt, can be changed into a radar with a much longer detectable range.
Seoul, allegedly having no plan to purchase the THAAD system estimated at about 1.5 trillion won (1.3 billion U.S. dollars), would provide site and infrastructure for the deployment, while Washington would pay the costs for operation and maintenance of the system.
The two countries have been engaged in consultations since February on whether to deploy the THAAD system, which they say would enhance defense against DPRK threats.
However, civic group activists in South Korea warned that the deployment of THAAD will trigger arms race in Northeast Asia and escalate regional tensions.
DPRK WARNED OF "MERCILESS RETALIATORY STRIKES"
In the warning carried by the official KCNA news agency, the DPRK's army voiced its "steadfast will" to "make merciless retaliatory strikes" against South Korea.
Deploying THAAD is a direct product of U.S. ambition to dominate the world and South Korea's confrontational moves against the DPRK, it noted.
One day after the THAAD announcement, the DPRK reportedly conducted test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile in waters southeast of the DPRK's eastern port city of Sinpo. Media reports said the test appeared to have failed.
Yonhap news agency cited South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying that the missile was successfully ignited but later exploded in mid-air.
South Korea later denounced the test-firing as another round of provocation by Pyongyang, saying that successful or not, it has once again breached UN Security Council resolutions.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry said the country will never tolerate its northern neighbor conducting such provocations, vowing to continue applying sanctions against it and strengthening a combined deterrence with the United States.
REGIONAL COUNTRIES VOICED SEVERE OPPOSITION
Although the United States and South Korea said that THAAD will not target any other third country, the U.S. missile defense system has far exceeded South Korea's defense needs and would directly threaten the strategic security of China and Russia.
On Friday, China said it is "strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposes to" the THAAD deployment, warning the move may further destabilize the Korean Peninsula and hold down efforts to achieve denuclearization through dialogue.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry urged Washington and Seoul to terminate the deployment, which will severely harm the security interests of regional countries as well as the "strategic balance" in the region.
One day later, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted that China was within its right to question the behind-the-scenes motives of the move.
Wang called on South Korea to be cool-headed and think over what the deployment could actually bring for its security, for the realization of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, as well as for the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
In Russia, the Foreign Ministry on Friday voiced "serious concern" over and condemnation against the THAAD deployment, saying such "ill-considered" actions will bring "tragic and irreparable consequences for the situation in Northeast Asia and beyond," and undermine the global strategic balance.
Evgeny Serebrennikov, deputy chairman of Russia's Arms Committee at the upper parliament house, also said Friday that the committee would work with the Defense Ministry to decide on military plans including deployment of missiles and ground units to counter THAAD.
News Analysis: S.Korea seeks to defend THAAD deployment despite oppositions at home, abroad
By Yoo Seungki
SEOUL, July 11 (Xinhua) -- South Korean government officials on Monday sought to tout the need for deploying the U.S. missile defense system, called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), in its territory despite oppositions and controversies at home and abroad.
President Park Geun-hye told a meeting with her senior advisors that the THAAD deployment would be a defensive measure to protect her country from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear and missile threats. Park said the U.S. interceptors will neither target any third-party nations nor infringe on security interests of any other country. Full story