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    Anti-war activists hold placards during a rally against talks on deployment of the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, THAAD, outside South Korea's defence ministry in Seoul on March 4, 2016

    Washington and Seoul Maintain Different Approaches to Showdown With North Korea

    © AFP 2019 / JUNG YEON-JE
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    A recent White House press release didn't confirm that a consensus had been reached between the US and South Korean Presidents on Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) during their telephone conversation on January 30, according to Sputnik Korea.

    On January 30, US President Donald Trump held a phone conversation with his South Korean counterpart Hwang Kyo-ahn, during which he allegedly expressed understanding and support for Seoul's efforts to install elements of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea, according to a press release issued by Seoul.

    "Acting South Korean President Hwang briefed US President Trump on Seoul's stance regarding the installation of the US THAAD system in South Korea. Trump expressed an active understanding and called for a further boost in bilateral cooperation, which will be discussed during US Defense Secretary Mattis' upcoming visit to South Korea," the press release said.

    However, the text of the White House's press release indicated that the THAAD issue was not discussed during the two leaders' telephone conversation, according to Sputnik Korea.

    "President Trump reiterated our ironclad commitment to defending the ROK [South Korea], including through the provision of extended deterrence, using the full range of our military capabilities," the press release, in particular, said.

    The South Korean Prime Minister's press service, for its part, never mentioned the phrase "extended deterrence" but referred to an abstract "powerful response [to North Korea's actions] based on the US-South Korean cooperation."

    Sputnik Korea's special correspondent tried to find out the reasons for this discrepancy, but calls to the press releases of both countries remained unanswered.

    It is worth noting that "extended deterrence" in terms of a military strategy means that in the event of a nuclear attack on the allied countries, such as the United States, South Korea, Japan and others, an array of weapons will be used, including intercontinental  ballistic missiles (ICBM), ballistic missile submarines (SLBM) and strategic bombers.

    After the publication by the US of the Nuclear Posture Review in 2002, the missile defense (MD) and precision strikes system became part of the extended deterrence apart from the three above-mentioned strategic measures.

    Two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test. File photo
    Two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test. File photo

    The concept of "extended deterrence" also means "the possibility of pre-emptive nuclear strike" and includes measures such as interception, notification, detection and removal of contamination characteristics.

    Meanwhile, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that South Korean government is right to follow the THAAD deployment plan.

    "Given the reality, where the Korean Peninsula is in a state resembling war, the authorities’ actions [on deploying THAAD] are reasonable," Ban said, as quoted by Yonhap news agency.

    China and Russia have repeatedly showed their objection to the deployment of THAAD, arguing that their real aim was to deter the strategic weapon systems not only in the Korean peninsula’s North, but primarily in China's hinterlands and Russia's Far East regions.

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    Tags:
    extended deterrence, capabilities, measures, response, cooperation, THAAD, United States, South Korea
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