MOSCOW, May 28 (RIA Novosti) – Washington is considering plans to deploy an advanced missile defense system in South Korea to counter the threat of North Korean missiles, the Wall Street Journal has reported citing defense officials.
The US has conducted a site survey in South Korea for possible locations of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) battery, but yet no final decisions have been made, the report said.
Washington could deploy its Thaad system to South Korea temporarily and then replace it with a system purchased by Seoul, a defense official said. The US could also allow South Korea to purchase its own, and “jump ahead in the queue” for the system, the official said.
Each Thaad missile battery costs about $950 million.
Last year, US deployed one such system to the Pacific Ocean island of Guam to protect US bases in face of "provocations" from North Korea.
Deploying such a system could encourage Seoul’s closer cooperation with US and Japan in a planned regional missile defense system, the report said.
North Korea reportedly conducted in late March or early April engine tests for an intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially deliver a nuclear warhead to the United States, according to 38 North, affiliated with Johns Hopkins University's US-Korea Institute.
Last month, South Korean news agencies reported Pyongyang appeared to be gearing up for a fourth nuclear test, citing a significant increase in activity at North Korea’s Punggye-ri facility in the northeast of the country.