WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, released the following statement Friday after the Department of Defense and the South Korean Defense Ministry announced a deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in response to increased aggression by North Korea:
“I welcome the decision by the United States and the Republic of Korea to move forward on deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
“As I have previously stated, North Korea’s January nuclear test and multiple ballistic missile tests, including recent IRBM launches, constitute direct violations of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions and highlight the grave threat North Korea poses to the peace and security of our ally the Republic of Korea (ROK) and indeed the entire Asia-Pacific region. North Korea’s provocations and its refusal to engage in credible negotiations on denuclearization compel the U.S.-South Korean Alliance to take defensive measures necessary to assure that the security of the Korean people can be safeguarded, and to protect Alliance military forces from North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile threats.
“The deployment of a THAAD battery to the Korean Peninsula will improve our joint missile defense posture and enhance our defensive capabilities. I fully support the administration’s efforts to assure that the United States reaffirms our commitment to the defense of our Allies and to develop a comprehensive set of Alliance capabilities to counter the growing North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear threat.”