U.S. Army trucks brought four more THAAD anti-missile launchers onto a former golf course in South Korea. On Wednesday, the South Korean Defense Ministry gave approval to the placement of six launchers in response to North Korea’s underground detonation last week of a nuclear weapon that may have been a hydrogen bomb.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he would allow South Korea and Japan to buy a “substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment.” He did not specify the types of systems under consideration.
Both South Korea and Japan have Patriot air defense systems, and Japan reportedly has expressed interest in installing a THAAD system.
In its 2018 defense budget proposals, Japan also seeks funding for missile defense upgrades, to include Standard Missile-3 Block 2A and PAC-3 MSE hit-to-kill interceptors as well as improvements to air and missile defense radars.
In addition, Japan also wants the Aegis Ashore air defense system — the land-based version of the system already in use on U.S., Japanese and South Korean warships.
Trump has given initial approval to South Korea’s request to lift the limits on the size of its missile warheads to double their explosive force.
The US has a two-part strategy
1. build missile defenses in the U.S. and the region
2. pursue a negotiated settlement to denuclearize the peninsula