Senior U.S. Diplomat to Visit S. Korea to This Week over THAAD

Senior U.S. Diplomat to Visit S. Korea to This Week over THAAD

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) -- A senior U.S. diplomat handling missile defense issues, including THAAD, will visit South Korea later this week, the State Department said.

Frank Rose, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, will be in Seoul on Friday and Saturday for meetings with officials of South Korea's government and U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) to "discuss arms control, international security and strategic stability," the department said in a statement.

The department did not elaborate, but his meetings are sure to touch on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) issue.

South Korea and the U.S. decided in July to deploy a THAAD battery in the South, where some 28,500 American troops are stationed, to better defend against growing missile and nuclear threats from North Korea.

China has vehemently protested the decision, arguing the system, especially its powerful X-band radar, would hurt its security interests, despite repeated assurances from Washington and Seoul that the system is designed only to defend against North Korean threats.

In last week's high-level alliance talks that brought together the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries, the South and the U.S. reaffirmed their determination to deploy THAAD as soon as possible.

Seoul is one of a series of legs in Rose's Oct. 25-Nov. 7 trip to Asia and the Middle East. The other stops are Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the state department said.'

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