Aide suspended for hiding news of expanded U.S. defense
SEOUL | A senior South Korean defense official was suspended Monday for deliberately failing to report to new liberal President Moon Jae-in the arrival of several more launchers for a contentious U.S. missile defense system, Mr. Moon’s office said.
Mr. Moon’s conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye, had allowed the United States to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system to deal with North Korean nuclear threats. A THAAD battery is normally operated with six launchers, and two of them were publicly installed in a southeastern South Korean town in late April, days before Mr. Moon took office on May 10.
Last week, Mr. Moon’s office said it found that four more launchers have since arrived in South Korea, but that defense officials didn’t mention them in policy briefings they gave in late May. Moon demanded a probe, calling the incident “very shocking,” according to his aides. Mr. Moon’s investigation order has prompted media speculation about its motives.