The White House said Friday that South Korea will have the final say whether the U.S. deploys a new anti-ballistic missile system there to defend against North Korea.
“Obviously, we would defer to the preferences of our allies in South Korea about whether or not they would like to have this additional equipment located on their territory,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. He said talks between the U.S. and Seoul have been going on for “several weeks.”
North Korea has been conducting more nuclear and missile tests this spring, but China and Russia are concerned about the possible U.S. deployment of the antimissile system, known as THAAD.
“I’ll just point out that that equipment would be oriented toward the threat that is posed by North Korea, not oriented toward China or Russia,” Mr. Earnest said. “The assessment of our military and national security experts is that additional resources could be necessary to ensure the safety and security of the Republic of Korea.”
He said in the face of the repeated provocations and violations of U.N. resolutions, the U.S. wants to help its ally, South Korea.
“This is a sovereign country and because they’re an ally of the United States, we’re looking for ways to help them,” Mr. Earnest said. “But ultimately, they would make the final call.”