Threat From the North: Seoul Seeks More Anti-Missile Radars

South Koreans Protest Deployment of US Missiles

South Korea says key parts of a contentious USA missile defence system have been installed a day after rival North Korea showed off its military power.

The United States, Japan and South Korea agreed Tuesday to put maximum pressure on North Korea, the South's envoy for North Korea said after meeting his American and Japanese counterparts in Tokyo.

China reacted angrily to the progress the same day.

The Pentagon needs to consider deploying new anti-ballistic missile systems and a defensive radar to Hawaii to protect against a growing threat from North Korea, the top USA military officer in the Pacific told Congress on Wednesday.

As another deterrent, Harris pointed to the USS Michigan - a guided-missile submarine - that arrived in South Korea Tuesday, saying it was an important show of force. Also today, South Korea started installing key parts of a contentious USA defense system against missiles from North Korea.

Though there has been worldwide concern about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducting its sixth nuclear test, Seoul's Defense Ministry recently said that "no unusual development had been detected", and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said "Our military is closely monitoring the North Korean military's movement", according to the BBC.

The work to set up the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, within this year has angered North Korea, China and Russian Federation, which see the system's powerful radars as a security threat. A USA defense official said the system's arrival in South Korea was coincidental and had been long-planned.

South Korean presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in has vowed to reconsider the deployment if he wins the May 9 election, saying that the country should consider relations with China.

The Korean Joongang Daily adds that numerous protesters were reportedly elderly local residents and that some were injured as police kept them from trying to intervene in the installation of the system.

On Tuesday, North Korea staged a pounding display of artillery guns, while the United States began joint naval drills in the region with South Korea and Japan and the USS Michigan, one of the most powerful submarines in the American arsenal, docked in South Korea.


Seoul held a large annual drill of its own Wednesday, involving some 100 artillery pieces, 90 armoured vehicles and 50 aircraft, as well as 2,000 South Korean and United States troops, the defence ministry said.

A South Korean cosmetics industry representative told News 1 the ban appears to be intentional and linked to the THAAD decision.

"Therefore, this measure was to secure operational capacity by placing some parts of the available THAAD system at the deployment site".

North Korea's official media reported Wednesday that leader Kim Jong Un personally observed the exercises, which involved the firing of more than 300 large-caliber artillery pieces and included submarine torpedo-attacks on mock enemy warships.

"The fearless artillerymen mercilessly and satisfactorily hit the targets and the gunshots were very correct, he said, adding that they showed well the volley of gunfire of our a-match-for-a-hundred artillery force giving merciless punishment to the hostile forces", KCNA said.

There had been fears North Korea would mark the anniversary with its sixth nuclear test or a long-range missile launch.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called Monday for "restraint" regarding North Korea in a telephone conversation with Trump.

But asked what if North Korea tests an intercontinental missile or nuclear device, she said, "I think then the president steps in and decides what's going to happen".

Harris' testimony comes ahead of two congressional briefings on North Korea Wednesday afternoon, where Defense Secretary James Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats will brief the full House and Senate.

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