The U.S. advanced missile system in the Korean Peninsula will not be used against Russia or other countries, South Korean President Park Geun-hye told Russian news agency Sputnik on Friday. Seoul and Washington’s deal to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea triggered security concerns among Russia and China.
"There is no reason, nor practical benefit, for the THAAD system to target any third country, and the Korean Government does not have any such intentions or plans," Park told Sputnik when asked whether the defense system could sour Moscow-Seoul relations.
"So far, the Korean Government has faithfully explained our basic position to the Russian Government. If Moscow feels that there is a need for additional explanation, the Korean Government will continue to communicate closely in the days to come," Park said, adding that the need for THAAD deployment would go away once the nuclear threat from neighboring North Korea was eliminated.
In July, South Korea and the U.S. agreed to deploy the defense system. At the time, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said that both the countries aim to make THAAD operational in the Seongju County by the end of 2017.
Following this, Beijing had urged Seoul and Washington to reconsider their plan and said that the deployment “doesn’t help achieve the objective of denuclearization in the peninsula, doesn’t benefit maintaining peace and stability in the peninsula.”
Although China had supported the sanctions by the United Nations Security Council against Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile tests this year, the world’s second-largest economy maintained its opposition to THAAD citing security issues. Beijing has consistently said that the THAAD missile system could be used to monitor its missile launches as far inland as Xian in the northwest.
In April, Russia had expressed concern over the missile system’s deployment saying that the installation will create a threat to its security. THAAD can reportedly shoot down short-, medium- and immediate-range ballistic missiles.