After the North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on Nov. 28, the U.S. reaffirmed its use of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense systems both domestically and in South Korea.
The Hwasong-15 launch raised new questions about the range of North Korean missiles, which are now reported to be able to reach the eastern seaboard, meaning the entire U.S. is within range.
“Our goal is to make sure the safety of U.S. citizens is conserved,” the U.S. press secretary said. “We want to increase THAAD capabilities to defend the west coast.”
South Korea continues to employ THAAD systems in its own country, much to the ire of North Korea, China and Russia, which perceive the defense systems as a threat. The peninsular nation has no plans of removing the systems, but desires a peaceful resolution.
“We are seeking out a solely diplomatic solution to any conflict,” the South Korean press secretary said. “We are seeking to strengthen our economy by diversifying and establishing stronger world relations.”
The South Koreans still insist on bringing North Korea to the negotiating table to address the numerous issues dividing the Korean peninsula, with the most pressing one being the recent tests. The North Koreans will likely point to the THAAD program and U.S. military operations as aggression.
The U.S. cabinet has enlisted the help of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to explore further uses for THAAD systems for fighting the North Korean nuclear threat.
The Chinese cabinet has not yet addressed the THAAD issue. Instead, the cabinet intends to promote international peace by serving as the mediator between the two Koreas.
“China has no intentions to play instigator in any global affair,” the Chinese press secretary said.
China remains, after all, one of the only nations with active dialogue between both North and South Korea.