The Republic of Korea (ROK) is considering purchasing an advanced missile defence system from the US to help boost its missile-defence capabilities.
Office of Missile Defense Policy director Dr Peppino DeBiaso was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the South Korean Government has received information on both the patriot advanced capability-3 (PAC-3) and terminal high-altitude area-defence (THAAD) systems, but is yet to make a final decision.
The US continues to perform analysis with South Korean officials to help them reach a decision, DeBiaso said, urging the country to acquire some of its own missile-defence capabilities.
"What those are and when they make that decision remains in the government’s hands," DeBiaso said.
Meanwhile, US Forces in Korea commander army general Curtis Scaparrotti said the US is considering deploying the THAAD system to Seoul to help the country counter growing military threats posed by North Korea.
"It is a US initiative, and in fact, I recommended it as the commander," Scaparrotti was quoted as saying by the Yonhap News Agency at a forum hosted by the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses in Seoul.
The US, which is scheduled to transfer command of South Korea’s wartime defences in December 2015, has already deployed a THAAD battery to Guam.
Meanwhile, a South Korean military source said that the country is not considering the THAAD system, and will instead focus on the indigenous development of a missile defence system to intercept missiles at a higher altitude, as reported by Xinhua.
Detailed plans of the programme are expected to be announced after the defence project committee’s meeting on 11 June, the source added.
South Korea is planning to domestically manufacture a long-range, surface-to-air missile (L-SAM), which is reportedly compatible with Lockheed Martin’s THAAD system, Xinhua reported.
Image: A terminal high-altitude area-defence (THAAD) interceptor missile being launched. Photo: courtesy of National Missile Defence.