By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- The early deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea is a critical part of efforts to lessen North Korea's leverage from asymmetric weapons, the top American military commander here said Thursday.
Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, who leads the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), said a "very dangerous situation" is looming over the peninsula.
He cited a rising set of provocations by the North, which include ballistic missile launches, nuclear and cyber activities, as the leverage leader Kim Jong-un has in holding South Korea and neighboring countries at risk,
The commander stressed the need to "take that risk away without taking his systems away."
"I am not suggesting that we allow him to keep his weapons," he said, delivering a keynote speech at a security forum in Seoul. "We have to actually address the vulnerabilities we have here in the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and find ways to lessen that vulnerability."
In particular, he said, THAAD has provided the allies with a critical and unprecedented "area defense" against the nuclear-armed North's ballistic missiles.
"This is all about North Korean missiles and the threat that North Korean missiles pose to the Republic of Korea, and it's for the defense of the Republic of Korea and nothing else," Brooks said.
Read the full story at YonhapNews