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SEOUL, August 4. /TASS/. South Korea has refuted North’s criticism of plans to place an advanced US missile defense system on Korean soil in 2017, a spokesman for the Ministry of Unification told a briefing on Thursday.
"It is precisely North Korea with its nuclear and rocket programs that was the reason to make this decision," the spokesman said.
On Wednesday, North Korean media published an editorial claiming that deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system will place the region in the center of confrontation between global nuclear superpowers.
"Deployment of this missile defense system is, on the contrary, a means of protecting ourselves from the North Korean threat to peace and stability," the South Korean spokesman noted.
"Pyongyang should realize that its tricks and empty rhetoric will not help to justify development of its nuclear program and to split the South Korean society," the spokesman noted adding that "the North should immediately stop these foolish actions and start moving toward de-nuclearization."
The decision to deploy the THAAD in the south of the Korean Peninsula was made at the beginning of July. The ground-based missile defense system is designed to intercept the warheads of ballistic missiles at the end of the mid-course phase and during the approach to the target, and also to protect cities and key facilities from ballistic missiles - both short-range and strategic ones. A nuclear missile threat from North Korea was named as the reason for stationing a THAAD unit on the permanent basis. Russia and China are strongly against these plans.