26 June 2017

News Story: THAAD controversy looms over Moon-Trump summit

SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- The deepening controversy over the now suspended deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea will likely be one of the major issues to be discussed between their leaders when they meet in Washington later this month, experts said Sunday.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is to meet with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Thursday and Friday (local time) in their first face-to-face talk since they both took office.

The summit takes place amid growing worries that the controversy and seemingly increasing cacophony between the allies over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system on South Korean soil.

Ever since its installment decision was announced in July last year to better defend against North Korea's threats, it has mostly caused friction with China worrying that it could compromise its missile and military capabilities.

Beijing has taken what appears to be retaliation against South Korean businesses ever since.

The THAAD issue, however, seems to have morphed into something causing an unexpected divide between South Korea and the U.S. when Trump earlier caused a stir here by calling on Seoul to pay for THAAD, estimated at US$1 billion.

Adding to this controversy, President Moon called for due installation process for THAAD, and ordered a special investigation into what was seen as a secret or undisclosed THAAD installation process.

Moon was quoted as saying that he was "shocked" not to be reported on deployment of four more rocket launchers in addition to two already in place. The whole installation has been suspended pending the survey, which could take months, if not years.

The suspension sparked speculation that it might be a first step toward eventually reversing the THAAD installation decision. Moon has repeatedly denied it, saying that there will be no turning back.

Read the full story at YonhapNews