South Korean leader observes missile test amid North's threats

May JohnsonJun 26, 2017

President Moon said he has "high expectations" for the upcoming summit with U.S. President Trump and the G20 Summit in Germany the week after saying he would like to sit down with as many world leaders as possible there as North Korea's nuclear program will take center stage in both events.

A total of 340,000 United Nations troops from 16 countries fought to defend South Korea during the three-year war, 300,000 of them from the U.S. And their sacrifice is personal for President Moon, whose parents fled North Korea during the war.

The report said during a meeting with South Korean foreign ministry officials, Shannon asked for Seoul to deploy the remaining four THAAD launchers within the year.

Two Thaad interceptor launchers and the system's radar have already been deployed here, but Moon earlier said the original agreement with the United States was to deploy one launcher in 2017 and an additional five in 2018.

When asked about frustration in Washington that Moon's administration has not fully deployed a USA anti-missile system and insisted on an environmental impact assessment first, the president said that getting the assessment done "does not mean that we will postpone or reverse the decision to deploy".

Trump has called for the total isolation of North Korea and has also threatened force.

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North Korean missile tests present a hard challenge for Moon. Aside of expanding its missile arsenal, South Korea is also strengthening its missile defense systems, which include Patriot-based systems and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery now under deployment in the southeast county of Seongju.

"For some reason that I do not know, this entire THAAD process was accelerated", Moon was quoted as saying.

Ahead of the vote, the USA had already installed a pair of the launchers, which Moon complained was an attempt to get the system in under the lame duck government before his election.

"Resumption of dialogue with North Korea may need to be pursued in close cooperation and consultation with the United States, but South Korea does not need to be allowed by the U.S. to do so", Kwun Hyuk-ki, a Presidency spokesman, told Yonhap News Agency. "The South Korea-US summit to come next week should be a venue where the review of the THAAD deployment should be assured".

The US interviewer also said, "President Moon believes he is going to get the green light from President Trump to have these bilateral talks with North Korea, to begin this inter-Korean dialogue".

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