May 19, 2015 09:20
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for the first time on Monday pushed openly for the deployment of the U.S.' Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea.
The need "to be prepared for every possible outcome… is why we need to deploy ships, forces... and we are talking about THAAD," Kerry told U.S. soldiers at their garrison in Yongsan, Seoul.
He reiterated the importance of keeping U.S. forces on the peninsula, saying North Korean threats are the reason for the deployment of vessels and troops here.
Seoul has maintained a flimsy fiction that the controversial deployment of THAAD batteries has not been discussed because they form the core of the U.S.' missile strategy aimed at containing China.
During his visit to Korea in early April, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters that the U.S. was not yet ready to begin discussion on THAAD deployment here.
Kerry also commented on the North Korean regime's reported purge of senior officials, saying their executions show that the North has no regard for human dignity.
Kerry made the remarks in a joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se. He said the North is the top security concern.
Touching on the North's test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, Kerry urged the global community to ratchet up pressure on the North so that it changes its behavior.
In a meeting with President Park Geun-hye prior to his talk with Yun, Kerry said that President Barack Obama is looking forward to Park's visit to Washington next month and pledged to do his best to make her upcoming visit a success.
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