South Korea has not discussed the possibility of purchasing the advanced missile defense system during Lockheed Martin’s visit last week.
Senior Lockheed Martin officials visited Seoul last week and asked if the government intended to buy its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, Yonhap news agency reported.
An official with South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration said that the two sides had not discussed the THAAD issue, instead the discussion was focused on the “upgrade of the KF-16 fighters and US Air Force's project of buying a jet trainer." The government had no plans to buy THAAD, the official added.
The USA seeks to deploy a THAAD battery in South Korea to protect its ally and some 28,000 US troops from a perceived threat from North Korea. The THAAD missile defense system is designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles at a higher altitude in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill method.
Last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a press conference with Seoul's Defense Minister Han Min-koo in Seoul that THAAD was not on the agenda during the two officials' meeting, as it is "not at a point yet of determining where it might be suitably deployed in the future" since it is still in production in the US.