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US THAAD system on Korean Peninsula will be focused solely on North Korea - Pentagon

February 09, 5:33 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said that is "an alliance decision that we're making with South Korean and we're doing this in response to what the North Koreans have done"
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© AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

WASHINGTON, February 9. /TASS/. THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) system which US plans to deploy in South Korea will be focused solely on North Korea, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told a briefing on Monday.

Answering a question on whether THAAD system may also be looking in to China, Cook said: "It's going to be focused on the threat posed by North Korea." "This is an alliance decision that we're making with South Korean and we're doing this in response to what the North Koreans have done, and that's how it should be viewed," he added.

"It would be specifically put into place to deal with the threat posed by North Korea alone. We don't feel that any other country should feel - have any concern about the deployment of the system, given its defensive nature," Cook noted.

Washington and Seoul agreed to start consultations on possible THAAD deployment, the press secretary said adding that "the goal of the formal consultations is to bilaterally explore the feasibility of THAAD deploying to and operating on the Korean Peninsula at the earliest possible date."

Answering a question on whether China expressed concerns over the THAAD system, Cook said: "I'm not aware of any direct communication we've received from the Chinese here at the Department of Defense."

Talking about the recent satellite launch by North Korea, the press secretary said that this step "further destabilizes the situation on the Korean Peninsula." "We've been able to determine that they were able to put a satellite or some space device into orbit," he noted.

North Korea successfully launched a satellite into space, its state-run TV said on Monday, an action immediately condemned by the United States as "destabilizing and provocative."

Carrier rocket Kwangmyongsong blasted off from the Sohae Space Center at 9 am Sunday local time, state news agency KCNA said. The Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite entered orbit nine minutes and 46 seconds after the liftoff, an operation "great leader Kim Jong Un personally ordered and directed," the TV announcer said.

According to CNN, though North Korea said the launch was for scientific and "peaceful purposes" - adding it plans to launch more satellites - it was viewed by other nations, such as Japan and South Korea, as a front for a ballistic missile test, especially coming on the heels of North Korea's purported hydrogen bomb test last month.

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