UPDATE : 2023.9.17 Sun 23:40
Who is to pay for Thaad?

Thadd is an acronym for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System operated by the U.S. military. Thaad is currently deployed at a former golf course in Seongju. The citizens of Seongju vented their anger at the deployment of the defense system in their hometown. The purpose of Thaad is to protect our country from a North Korean military attack and increase security. The current situation of the deployment of Thaad is very serious. “South Korea is facing a situation where the country has become marginalised by its neighbours and excluded from dialogue on North Korea,” said a professor at Kookmin University.

However, the payment for Thaad is currently a huge controversy in South Korea. President Trump repeatedly made remarks that South Korea should pay the cost. Trump called Thaad a horrible deal for the U.S. government economically and called this deal unfair even though the Korean military didn’t fully agree to accept the system. “Why are we paying a billion dollars? So I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. It's the most incredible equipment you've ever seen -- shoots missiles right out of the sky and it protects them and I want to protect them,” Trump said of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System. At first, South Korea was unwilling to deploy Thaad in its territory, due to our relationship with China. China is the main trading partner for South Korea and the Chinese government expressed that Thaad is a threat to their security such as tracking early data, in case China targets the U.S. government. The Chinese government also thinks that the deployment of Thaad in Japan and South Korea is a strategic way of containing China in the near future. The Chinese government and its citizens are retaliating against South Korea for deploying Thaad by calling for a boycott of Korean-made goods, mostly on Lotte products.

It is not clear whether Trump actually meant South Korea should pay for the total cost or to pay a part of the defense system. However, the South Korean government refuted their suggestion and said that the cost-sharing over Thaad was agreed and doesn’t need to be renegotiated. Even the National Security adviser, H.R. McMaster said that the Thaad deal will not be changed from the one made last year which both countries agreed. It is unreasonable for South Korea to pay for the entire cost since the missile is a U.S. forces asset and it was agreed that the U.S government would bear the total cost if South Korea would provide the land for its deployment. The South Korean government strongly refuted that the agreement of the payment of Thaad has already been handled in the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the next renewal of the defence sharing cost isn’t until 2019. South Korea agreed to pay 920 billion won from 2014 to 2018 which would account for approximately 42 percent of the total cost. However, South Korea has paid 944.1 billion won which was more than the agreed share. It is predicted that South Korea will gradually pay more during Trump’s presidency. Now it is up to Moon Jae-in, the newly elected president to settle the controversy between the two countries about the payment and the operation of the new defense system.

By Jeong Seung-in, reporter

Trump repeatedly made remarks that South Korea should pay the cost for Thaad

Jeong Seung-in  samcandothat@naver.com

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