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South Korea will stick with Thaad as nuclear threat from North Korea grows

South Korea will stick to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) on its territory even if China takes stronger retaliatory action against the perceived security threat, an analyst said Tuesday.

"(Chinese retaliation) is happening and will further accelerate. It's not going to have an impact on South Korea's in a sense that they are not going to reconsider the decision to deploy Thaad," said North Asia director for the Economist Corporate Network, Florian Kohlbacher

"It's not realistic for South Korea to stop going ahead with deployment in the end," he added to CNBC's The Rundown.

China has already penalized South Korea for its decision to deploy the anti-ballistic missile system, including limiting Korean pop cultural imports and not offering certain subsidies to South Korean companies in China, he noted.

Kohlbacher's comments come after acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday said despite Chinese hostility to the move, the deployment of the Thaad system cannot be delayed in the face of a growing North Korean nuclear missile threat.

On Monday, Acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday said despite Chinese hostility to the move, the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile defense system cannot be delayed in the face of a growing North Korean nuclear missile threat.
Liu Xingzhe | VCG | Getty Images
On Monday, Acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday said despite Chinese hostility to the move, the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile defense system cannot be delayed in the face of a growing North Korean nuclear missile threat.

"(North Korea) has been expanding its nuclear capabilities and developing the technology to create nuclear weapons. They are also miniaturizing nuclear weapons," Hwang told reporters.

"Right now is not the time to talk to try to resolve North Korea's nuclear issues," he said.

Urgency over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions have escalated recently with United States seeing indications that North Korea may be preparing for a new missile test-launch soon, U.S.officials said last week before President Donald Trump's inauguration.

South Korean media, citing intelligence agencies, said Pyongyang may be readying a test of a new, upgraded prototype of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

This comes amid speculation over Trump's foreign policies as he complained that the U.S. spends too much defending allies, while chiding China for not doing more to contain Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions.

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