US officials are increasingly critical of South Korea’s President Moon Jae-In for moving to halt the deployment of THAAD launchers as part of the US missile defense system being set up in South Korea, complaining that they are needlessly delaying the installation of the launchers.
Rep. Ed Royce (R – CA) was particularly vocal in criticizing the delays, saying that the system is “critical” to protecting South Korea from North Korean missile attacks. The US already has two launchers installed, and delivered four others.
President Moon has been critical of the deployment of THAAD, particularly because the deal was reached with the lame duck government right before the election, and hastily implemented. Moon has put a halt to further installations, pending environmental analysis.
This is likely less about the environment than about the THAAD’s unpopularity in South Korea, which grew precipitously when President Trump suggested South Korea ought to pay the US for the system being installed on their soil. China has also complained that the deployment threatens them, and President Moon is interested in improving relations with China.