The deployment of the U.S. missile defense system, THAAD, in South Korea has been at the center of controversy for months now. Today, we're learning new details that may only exacerbate the issue. Our chief anchor Moon Connyoung is live at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae. Connyoung.
You'll bet it will only crank up the heat on this anti-missile system - at least, internally in this country.
President Moon Jae-in's chief press secretary called for an abrupt, unscheduled news conference about two hours ago here at the presidential Blue House.
On live television, he announced that the president has ordered a thorough probe into the previously-unknown, unreported introduction of four mobile launchers - part of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system in South Korea.
That's in addition to the two authorized launchers and X-band radar deployed by the U.S. military before Mr. Moon's election earlier this month.
Here's a bit of that press briefing.
"President Moon said he was "shocked" to learn from his national security chief that four additional THAAD launchers were brought in without being reported to the new administration or to the public. He ordered a thorough investigation."
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As you mentioned, Devin, the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system by the U.S. military, agreed by the government of Moon's predecessor to counter North Korea's missile threats, (VIDEO OUT) was a controversial issue in the May 9th presidential election and has infuriated China, North Korea's lone major ally.
Connyoung, why is this such a big deal here in South Korea?
Well, it's more of an internal issue at least at this stage of the investigation. It's got more to do with why Seoul's defense ministry failed to report to the new Moon Jae-in administration that four more mobile launchers - undisclosed to the public - were in South Korean soil of course, in addition to the the original two launchers that were installed back in April.
The argument from the presidential Blue House is that the former government's defense ministry did not report of this not even during its policy briefing session to President Moon's de facto transition team last week.
The chief press secretary noted there are suspicions that this may have been to avoid social and political scrutiny over the possible impact the launchers could have on the environment, Devin.