South Korea ruling party says U.S. anti-missile defense to go ahead
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A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency
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SEOUL (Reuters) - The deployment in South Korea of the U.S. military's THAAD system, designed to counter North Korea's missile threat, will go ahead as planned under a Trump administration, the South's ruling party chief said on Wednesday, citing the defense minister.
Saenuri Party policy chief Kim Gwang-lim said plans for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence anti-missile system were near complete.
Kim was briefing the media after a meeting by senior party members with national security ministers, including Defence Minister Han Min-koo, to discuss the U.S. presidential election, won by Republican Donald Trump.
"THAAD is all but confirmed so it'll go ahead," Kim quoted Han as saying.
But the South Korean government was concerned Trump may make unpredictable proposals to North Korea over the isolated country's nuclear weapons program, a ruling party official said, quoting top national security officials.
A Trump spokesman said in September that North Korea's most recent nuclear test was an example of the "catastrophic failures" of his Democratic rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Washington and Seoul agreed to deploy the THAAD system in South Korea to protect against North Korean threats. China, North Korea's lone major ally, was angered by the decision as it feats the system's powerful radar will be able to see into its territory.
The commander of U.S. forces in South Korea said on Friday the system would be deployed to South Korea within eight to 10 months, according to an official from the U.S. forces in South Korea.
(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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