21:39 GMT +322 January 2020
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    South Korean Deputy Defense Minister for Police Wee Seung-ho was relieved from duty after a probe revealed that he had intentionally removed a section of a report about the nation's US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the Yonhap news agency, citing the presidential office, Wee ordered for a section of a report pertaining to four THAAD launchers to be delivered to the country to be deleted from the initial draft before it was sent to the president's office. Wee's aim was, among other reasons, to keep the program free from South Korean environmental requirements, the news agency specified on Monday.

    Wee admitted to giving such an order, justifying his actions by pointing out an existing agreement with the United States to keep certain parts of the THAAD program in secret, the media added. According to South Korean President Moon Jae-in's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan, as cited by the agency, the agreement was meant to influence the ministry’s reports to the media, and that the full report is presented to the president and other top government officials.

    According to Yoon, the probe showed no indication that Defense Minister Han Min-koo and former chief of the National Security Office Kim Kwan-jin were connected to the case, the agency said.

    The United States and South Korea agreed upon the deployment of the THAAD system in July 2016. The first components of the system starting arrived to South Korea in March. According to the agreement, Seoul provides a total of 690,000 square meters (170.5 acres) of land for the system in two stages, while Washington pays for the installation and maintenance of the system.


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    Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Wee Seung-ho, South Korea, United States
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