CIA Director John Brennan speaks at a forum about the CIA’s strategy in the face of emerging challenges at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, on July 13. Carlos Barria/Reuters


WASHINGTON— The bilateral decision between Seoul and Washington to deploy America’s most advanced missile-defense system to South Korea has Russia, China, and North Korea peeved.

The pressure to send theTerminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)missile-defense system toSeongju, in the southeastern part of South Korea, began after North Korea tested its fourth nuclear device on January 6 and then launched a long-range rocketa month later.

During a discussion at the Brookings Institution on identifying emerging security threats, CIA Director John Brennan said that the deployment of THAAD to the region was an “obligation” on behalf of the US.

“Clearly Kim Jong Un continues to go down a road that is exceptionally irresponsible as far as regional and global security, with his development of nuclear weapons as well as ballistic missiles,” Brennan told Business Insider in a question-and-answer session.

“He has demonstrated that he is not going to ratchet back on any of these activities,” Brennan added.

Brennan also noted that the process of deploying a THAAD battery is done in “very close consultation with our partners in the region.”

“We have certain obligations to our partners and the region so that the appropriate steps are taken to reassure our friends, partners, and allies of US commitment to the security of that area,” Brennan told Business Insider.

He added: “This is something that — I think the president has demonstrated — that we are trying to deal with these issues in a manner that is not going to lead to any escalation of tensions.”

Chinese Ambassador Qiu Guohong warned that deploying THAAD would irreparably damage relations between the countries, The Chosunilboreported.

THAAD deployment, Qiu said, “would break the strategic balance in the region and create a vicious cycle of Cold War-style confrontations and an arms race, which could escalate tensions.”

missile defense THAAD
A THAAD flight test. Missile Defense Agency


During US Secretary of State John Kerry’s February visit to Beijing, he explained that the US was “not hungry or anxious or looking for an opportunity to deploy THAAD,” CNN reported.

“THAAD is a purely defensive weapon. It is purely capable of shooting down a ballistic missile it intercepts,” Kerry said.

Currently, there are five THAAD batteries — each of approximately 100 soldiers — assigned to Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. One of those batteries was deployed to Guam in April 2013 in order to deter North Korean provocations and further defend the Pacific region.

The US maintains approximately 28,500 troops in South Korea.

As reported by Business Insider