The US Forces Korea has decided to deploy a single THAAD battery to Daegu, a southeastern city in South Korea by 2017.
“A survey team from the U.S. visited South Korea last November to find out the eligible places for THAAD deployment and selected Daegu after a month of survey,” an unnamed government official was quoted as saying by local newspaper Segye Ilbo. “The battery which will be deployed in South Korea by 2017 would be the fifth THAAD battery, next to one for the United Arab Emirates in 2016”.
However, official says that the THAAD battery in Daegu wouldn’t be a relocation of previously deployed batteries in the US.
Daegu, which has a large military airbase and a heavy ROK and US military presence, is in good condition for deployment, a military expert said.
“The military airbase has a lot of advantages for THAAD deployment,” Kim Min-seok, a military analyst and ROK Army advisor for force development told NK News. “Big transport airplanes like the C-17, which are required for its emergency deployment, can land without effort, and it has wide space for a THAAD battery.”
However, Pyeongtaek, which is 60 kilometers south of Seoul and has an enormous US military presence, including the Osan airbase, is also a good candidate for the deployment, Kim added.
Although, no decisions have been made yet. “We have made no final decisions regarding the deployment of a US THAAD unit to the Republic of Korea,” USFK representative Elizabeth Kim told NK News.
The deployment of THAAD in South Korea has been a subject of debates recently. Though China has openly displayed its opposition to THAAD deployment, it was reported that the US military has made contingency plans for deploying THAAD to the Korean Peninsula in case of emergency.