Korean official suspended over US missile defense report

A top South Korean defense official was suspended yesterday for deliberately failing to report to new liberal President Moon Jae-in the arrival of several more launchers for a contentious American missile defense system, Moon's office said.

"China likes to use the North Korean threat to drive a wedge between the Republic of Korea and the United States", said Tom Karako, a senior fellow of the International Security program and director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think-tank.

Moon also takes the environmental study seriously, Chung said, adding that the president recently told a visiting US politician about the importance of winning public support for the controversial deployment.

Children and parents from Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province (where the THAAD missile defense system is being deployed) read letters and display drawings calling on President Moon Jae-in to withdraw the deployment decision, in front of the Blue House in Seoul, June 4.

After a months-long diplomatic standoff between South Korea and China due to Seoul's decision to install an anti-missile defense system-which resulted in a drastic drop in Chinese tourists to Korea and an effective boycott of Korean entertainment in China-a warming of relations seems to be underway. "I think national security and defense should dominate", he added.

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"The agreement with the US military to keep the information secret is a principle you use when responding to media", Yoon said.

As a presidential candidate, Moon sought to delay deployment of THAAD and asked for more discussion on the matter.

The Americans earlier denied speculations that they had initiated the secret THAAD delivery, with Pentagon spokesman Army Major Jamie Davis saying the USA military had "worked closely and been fully transparent" with South Korea on the issue. "And if Korea doesn't want, South Korea does not want the THAAD missile system, it is US$923 million that we can spend some other place". "Korea summit and that the THAAD deployment, which affects the fate of the nation and its people greatly, took place without the public aware of the situation". Moon has said he will employ both dialogue and pressure to resolve the North Korean nuclear standoff. One is to ignore the threat.

He said that China is key to all of this and has the capacity to become a "game changer" in the current stalemate, though he expressed disappointment with China not making sufficient efforts. "(But) as of yet, I haven't seen any indication that China is taking a more aggressive approach".

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