South Korea is expecting another North Korea missile launch this week and has deployed its US-designed defence system to counter any attack.
Today the country’s THAAD missile defence system deployment was “tentatively” completed as US Forces Korea transported four additional missile interceptor launchers to its base in Seongju, 185 miles south of Seoul .
South Korean prime minister, Lee Nak-yon, described the situation in the north as “very grave” when he met with defence minsters in Seoul on Thursday morning.
He said the country is bracing for another missile launch on Saturday, September 9, when North Korea celebrates its founding day.
“The situation is very grave. It doesn’t seem much time is left before North Korea achieves its complete nuclear armament,” he said.
The four THAAD missiles arrived at the new Seongju base despite protesters blocking the road.
Armored riot police protected the final parts of the controversial US missile defense system as it entered.
Around 400 people reportedly took to the streets in the province of Gyeongbuk, eastern South Korea.
Footage shows dense crowds gathering and police attempting to break up the disturbance.
It contrasted with scenes in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, where civilians appeared to be celebrating the successful completion of the hydrostatic test for the intercontinental ballistic rocket installation.
The US army’s THAAD system is thought to be the world’s most advanced interceptor and is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in their terminal phase of approaching a target.
South Korea is now set to hold talks with “relevant” neighbouring countries regarding the THAAD issue.
China and Russia have particularly protested the system, claiming it will further destabilise regional security and expand the US military influence in the area.
South Korea President Moon Jae-in met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia today.
The leaders issued a jointed statement saying that it “is the time to further increase sanctions and pressures against North Korea as much as possible rather than seeking dialogue”.
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