DEBKAfile – April 26, 2017
The US early Wednesday, April 26, began moving the THAAD missile defense system to central South Korea opposite the border with the North – months ahead of schedule. A South Korean military official said two road-mobile launchers had arrived at the Osan Air Base. One THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) unit includes six launchers.
Tuesday, the USS Michigan nuclear submarine docked in South Korea, after the North began a large-scale, long-range artillery fire drill in Wonsan on the east coast. More than 4,000 artillery guns are reported to be taking part in the “exercise.”
The Michigan is in place ready to join the USS Carl Vinson carrier and its strike group which are steaming towards the peninsula, along with two Japanese destroyers.
Later Wednesday, all 100 US senators are scheduled to gather at the White House for a briefing by US security and military chiefs on the North Korean crisis, as the buildup to meet North Korean belligerence continues apace.
Facing US steps to meet the Korean crisis, China made ready to launch its second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, also known as the Type 001A. The new vessel, the first to be manufactured from prow to stern in China, is bigger than the Liaoning, China’s first Russian-made aircraft carrier.