South Korea Still Not Joining U.S. Missile Defense System

South Korea reaffirmed on Thursday that it has no intention of joining a regional antimissile framework headed by the United States, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Seoul has focused on establishing its own Korea Air and Missile Defense System that involves Patriot missiles and advanced alert radar technology.

During a Washington summit with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, President Obama on Tuesday said the allies would work together to counter the missile danger posed by North Korea. Some local news outlets reported that Obama might have been suggesting continued talks on Seoul's inclusion in a regional defense system.

The South Korean Defense Ministry, though, said collaboration only involves exchanges of information.

"South Korea has its own missile defense system for uses against missiles in the terminal stage, which is best suited for countering growing North Korean missile threats," said spokesman Kim Min-seok. "Under the current circumstances, we have cooperated with the U.S. missile defense system for intelligence sharing and seeking ways to develop the cooperation."

Seoul is understood to be leery about participating in a regional antimissile framework that involves Japan due to political sensitivities stemming from Tokyo's colonial era occupation of South Korea. Additionally, the South does not wish to anger China, which objects to growing U.S. antimissile activities in the Asia-Pacific.

May 9, 2013
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South Korea reaffirmed on Thursday that it has no intention of joining a regional antimissile framework headed by the United States, the Yonhap News Agency reported.