The THAAD missile defense system will be operational “in the coming days,” US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris told Congress. It comes amid heightened tensions between the US and North Korea.
Speaking to the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, Harris said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system will be “operational in the coming days to be able to better defend South Korea against the growing North Korea threat.”
He called THAAD “very important,” adding that it is a “defensive system that will help protect South Korea from ballistic missile attacks from North Korea.”
THAAD is designed to intercept short, medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles during their terminal flight phase. Equipped with long-range radar, it is believed to be capable of intercepting North Korea’s intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
The system was moved onto a golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea on Tuesday, prompting clashes between locals and police.
While South Koreans remain split over the issue, Beijing has repeatedly spoken out against THAAD over fears it will undermine its own deterrence capabilities.