US moves THAAD anti-missile to South Korean site, sparking protests
01 May, 2017, 10:45
South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, grew at the fastest clip in almost a year thanks to a recovery in exports, the central bank said Thursday, despite a backlash from Chinese consumers over the deployment of the USA missile defense system.
President Trump's comment that he wants South Korea to pay for a missile defense system being set up in the country jolted its presidential race on Friday and surprised the government, leaving it scrambling to figure out the intentions of a close ally.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has reassured South Korea that America will pay for a missile defense system, according to an official from the key USA ally, apparently contradicting President Donald Trump.
The deal was great for South Korea, but "terrible" for the United States, Trump told Reuters in the interview. It also noted that Chinese cyber espionage units have a long history of hacking South Korean government and business entities, with some degree of success. "He also said that the USA will be with S.K. 100 percent", the presidential office spokesperson said.
The deployment has drawn protests from China, which says the powerful radar that can penetrate its territory will undermine regional security, and from local residents anxious they will be a target for North Korean missiles.
The missile shield is expensive, and the president is not clear on why the U.S.is covering the costs.
China urged the United States and the Republic of Korea to withdraw the equipment and stop the deployment, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, speaking after a meeting of Japan's National Security Council, said the missile is believed to have traveled about 50 kilometers (30 miles) and fallen on an inland part of North Korea.
The decision to boost South Korean missile defense through the addition of THAAD was officially announced last July.
Analysts say the KN-17 is a new Scud-type missile developed by North Korea.
Mr. Trump, asked about his message to North Korea after the latest missile test, told reporters: "You'll soon find out", but did not elaborate on what the USA response would be.
Experts also say the North is prepared to conduct another nuclear test.
In the phone call, McMaster "conveyed President Trump's firm messaged that the S.K. -U.S. alliance is the most solid alliance and that it also is the U.S.'s top priority in the Asia-Pacific region".
Trump has sent a nuclear-powered submarine and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft supercarrier to Korean waters and North Korea last week conducted large-scale, live-fire exercises on its eastern coast.
Two-month long US-South Korean joint military drills were due to conclude on Sunday, the US and South Korean officials said.
Meanwhile, the US economy is strengthening, supporting consumer demand for imported goods, including cars and electronics from South Korea.
According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the United States is the second-largest supplier of pork to Korea after the European Union.
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