06/03/2014, 00.00
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US proposes a new (and expensive) missile defence system against Pyongyang

The Theatre High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system would cost about US$ 800 million. It would counter North Korea's threats and China's regional expansion. However, Seoul is not pleased that it would include Japan.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The commander of US forces in South Korea has asked Seoul to participate in the deployment of a new advanced missile defence system (DM) against increasing threats from North Korea.

Yonhap said that General Curtis Scaparrotti proposed the deployment of a Theatre High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system at a cost of US$ 800 million.

In March, the North test fired a mid-range Rodong missile, which can read more than 1,000 kilometres.

The United States has yet to start official discussions with South Korea over the deployment, Scaparrotti said, but it has carried out a site survey in South Korea for possible locations for the THAAD battery.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Defence Ministry said the country would review cooperation with the United States on the deployment once Washington formally made the proposal.

Washington has been pushing Seoul to join its MD system, along with Japan, to counter the evolving threats from North Korea and China's rise in the region.

According to some reports, Japan's inclusion, not THAAD's price, is holding Seoul back because of unresolved historical issues between South Korea and Japan that date back to before 1945.

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