What the THAAD Missile Defense System Can—and Can’t—Do in South Korea

South Koreans hold cardboard letters reading "NO THAAD" during a rally near the U.S. Embassy, Seoul, South Korea, April 28, 2017 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).
South Koreans hold cardboard letters reading "NO THAAD" during a rally near the U.S. Embassy, Seoul, South Korea, April 28, 2017 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).
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During South Korea’s presidential election, Moon Jae-in—who emerged as the winner on Tuesday—criticized the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system known as THAAD, saying it had been rushed. China has also made clear its objections to the system, even deploying children as young as 7 in a series of anti-THAAD boycotts and rallies. In an email interview, Joshua Pollack, editor of the Nonproliferation Review and senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, explains what THAAD does and why it is controversial. WPR: What are THAAD missile defense systems designed to defend against, and why […]

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