US deploys more Patriot missiles in South Korea

US deploys additional Patriot missile battery in South Korea following North Korea's nuclear test and long-range rocket launch

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A US Patriot missile is seen at the Osan US Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Saturday, February 13, 2016

The United States temporarily deployed an additional Patriot missile battery in South Korea in response to North Korea's recent nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch, US Forces Korea said Saturday.

"This deployment is part of an emergency deployment readiness exercise conducted in response to recent North Korean provocations," the US Forces Korea said in a press statement.

"Exercises like this ensure we are always ready to defend against an attack from North Korea," said Lieutenant General Thomas Vandal, commander of the US Eighth Army.

The move came ahead of a meeting to take place next week on possible deployment of a more advanced US missile defence system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD), which has worried China and Russia.

Beijing and Moscow argue that it would trigger an arms race in the region, with China voicing its "deep concern" over the deployment.

North Korea has previously warned of a nuclear war in the region and threatened to strengthen its armed forces if the THAAD deployment occurs.

Earlier this week, South Korea suspended operations in an industrial park in North Korea, it run jointly with Pyongyang.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se pose to media before a bilateral meeting in Munich, Germany, February 12, 2016

On Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry met in Munich with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts to discuss North Korea's actions.

South Korean Foreign Ministry said Kerry expressed support for Seoul’s decision to close factory park and discussed further sanctions against North Korea.

A South Korean defense official told AP that the THAAD deployment is designed to protect South Korea from North Korean threats and isn't targeting China -its most important trade partner- or anyone else.


TRTWorld and agencies