A missile defense system that the United States has begun installing in South Korea has “reached an initial operating capability to defend against North Korean missiles,” according to news reports.
U.S. officials confirmed Monday that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, which was deployed to the Korean peninsula in order to counter the threat of missile strikes from Kim Jong Un’s regime, had successfully come online, according to Reuters. However, they cautioned that full operability would not be reached for several months.
The system’s installation has been a point of contention with China, which has argued that THAAD’s radar could be used to spy on Beijing and would weaken the deterrent effect of China’s own ballistic missiles.
“It helps in no way to achieve the denuclearization of the peninsula and regional peace and stability,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said last week, according to Agence France-Presse.