South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in has temporarily suspended the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the country.
Reports emerged that the THAAD deployment will be put on hold until an environmental impact assessment is completed.
The suspension will halt the installation of the four additional launchers.
South Korea presidential office senior official was quoted by media sources as saying: “We are not saying the two launchers and other equipment that has already been deployed should be withdrawn. But those that have yet to be deployed will have to wait.”
Meanwhile, US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said in a statement: “The THAAD defensive missile system is critical to protecting South Koreans from Kim Jong Un’s growing arsenal.
"I hope any environmental concerns related to the full deployment of THAAD will be dispelled with a quick and thorough review.”
Agreed by the US and South Korea in July 2016, the planned THAAD deployment aims to counter North Korean missile threats. It was made operational in South Korea in May.
With a 200km range and the ability to reach an altitude of 150km, the THAAD is designed to be able to shoot down short and medium-range ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final flight phase.