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In a defiant bit of timing, South Korea announced that key parts of a contentious U.S. missile defense system had been installed a day after rival North Korea showed off its military power.
The South’s trumpeting of progress on setting up the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, comes as high-powered U.S. military assets converge on the Korean Peninsula and as a combative North Korea signals possible nuclear and missile testing.
North Korea conducted live-fire artillery drills on Tuesday, the 85th anniversary of the founding of its million-person strong Korean People’s Army.
The moves to set up THAAD within this year have angered not only North Korea, but also China, the country that the Trump administration hopes to work with to rid the North of nuclear weapons.
China, which has grown increasingly frustrated with its ally Pyongyang, and Russia see the system’s powerful radars as a security threat.
South Korea said in a statement Wednesday that unspecified parts of THAAD were installed.
The statement said that Seoul and Washington have been pushing to get THAAD quickly working to cope with North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile threats.
According to Yonhap news agency, the parts include two or three launchers, intercept missiles and a radar.
About 8,000 police officers were mobilized, and the main road leading up to the site in the country’s southeast was blocked earlier Wednesday, Yonhap reported.