skip to main content


Title: Missile defense and strategic stability: Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea

South Korea is threatened by its troubled relationship with North Korea. North Korea possesses a large cache of missiles as well as chemical and biological weapons, and the future potential to mount nuclear weapons on its missiles. The United States is also challenged because of its defense commitments to Seoul. As a countermeasure, the United States and South Korea decided to deploy Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defenses in South Korea. However, China has objected. Chinese scholars believe the THAAD radar would be able to track Chinese inter-continental ballistic missiles, thereby weakening their deterrent. A technical analysis does not support this assertion. But, it is vital for South Korea, given its proximity and economic interdependence, to reassure China. The United States Forces Korea will deploy THAD and that is not a commitment by Seoul to become part of U.S.-led missile defenses in the Asia-Pacific.
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States). Center for International and Security Studies
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States). National Security Services
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1352-3260
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Contemporary Security Policy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 2017; Journal ID: ISSN 1352-3260
Taylor & Francis
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
45 MILITARY TECHNOLOGY, WEAPONRY, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE; Ballistic missile defense; Terminal High Altitude Area Defense; South Korea; China; strategic stability; extended deterrence
OSTI Identifier: