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S. Korea repeats need for deploying U.S. missile defense system

SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's defense ministry Monday reiterated the need for the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system on the Korean peninsula to better deal with ballistic missile and nuclear threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Moon Sang-Kyun, newly appointed spokesman of the defense ministry, told his first regular press briefing that it would be "of course" helpful to defense and security of South Korea if the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) is deployed on the peninsula.

Moon said the THAAD deployment will help South Korea's national defense as the advanced U.S. missile defense system is one of tools to defend the country against the DPRK's nuclear and missile threats.

His comments are the repetition of former spokesman Kim Min-Seok's remarks made last Friday during a press briefing. It indicated South Korea's possible change in position over the THAAD deployment as Seoul had stressed the development of its indigenous missile defense system.

Asked whether the THAAD is necessary for South Korea even after completing the development of its indigenous missile defense system, Moon said that the THAAD deployment would be helpful to South Korea's security as the two are separate systems with different ranges and operational systems.

South Korea's military plans to complete the development of its own missile defense system, called the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), with homegrown technology. The military is developing the long-range surface-to-air missile (L-SAM) and medium-range surface-to-air missile (M-SAM) to establish a multi-layered missile defense system.

The L-SAM intercepts missiles at an altitude of 40 km or above. The THAAD, developed by the U.S.-based Lockheed Martin, is aimed at shooting down missiles as high as 150 km.

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