South Korea to Launch Air, Missile Defense System

The US and South Korea will expand intelligence sharing and missile defense cooperation as the South works towards its own air and missile defense system, which is slated for operation by the mid-2020s, said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Republic of Korea counterpart Han Min-koo. The operations concept is one of the initiatives the two countries are pursuing to increase ROK capabilities prior to a future transition of operational wartime control to Seoul. The new operations concept will be complemented by closer cooperation between the two nations in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance sharing. Hagel said despite reports the US is working to approve a sale of Terminal High Altitude Air Defense interceptors; no decisions have been approved yet. “All options are being explored,” Hagel said during a joint briefing with Han at the Pentagon on Thursday. (Joint Communiqué released following the 46th ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting.)