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People's Daily Online

Top military officers of S. Korea, U.S. discuss no THAAD deployment

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 16:15, March 27, 2015

SEOUL, March 27 -- Top military officers of South Korea and the United States had no discussions Friday about whether to deploy on the Korean Peninsula the advanced U.S. missile defense system, called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Seoul on Thursday for a three-day visit to the country.

Dempsey met Thursday here with South Korean President Park Geun- hey, who presented him with the Order of National Security Merit Medal for his contributions to the security on the Korean Peninsula, the ministry said.

The top U.S. military officer met with his South Korean counterpart Adm. Choi Yun-hee on Friday morning, and they reviewed preparations for the transition of the conditions-based wartime command of combined forces from Washington to Seoul, measures to strengthen Seoul-Washington combined defense posture and the future of the South Korea-U.S. alliance, according to the ministry.

The Defense Ministry said the THAAD deployment was not on the dialogue table between Dempsey and Choi. But Dempsey was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as saying during his courtesy visit to South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo that he talked with Choi about various issues, including an integrated air missile defense.

His comments indicated that they could have an unofficial discussion about the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula.

Heading for Japan, the first leg of his Asian tour, Dempsey told reporters Tuesday that progress is being made in establishing an 'integrated air and missile defense umbrella' in the Asia- Pacific region.

The general said South Korea and Japan have made some commitments in procurements on their side to make them interoperable, according to Yonhap.

The THAAD, developed by the U.S.-based Lockheed Martin, is designed to intercept ballistic missiles at an altitude of 40-150 km.

South Korea is developing its indigenous missile defense system, called Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), to shoot down missiles in the terminal phase at an altitude of about 40 km.

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