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S. Korea Probes Into Arrival Of 4 U.S. Rocket Launchers

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Investigation to find out why missiles were brought in country without being reported to presidency

South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered a probe Tuesday into how four American rocket launchers were brought into the country without being reported to his office.

Seoul has a longstanding military alliance with the Washington, but there has been an opposition from Moon’s party to this year’s swift deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system -- Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) -- which would need at least six launchers.

The deployment of the THAAD was approved by the previous government that fell after the then conservative President Geun-hye was impeached on charges of corruption.

Moon won the May 9 election. A promise to review the controversial THAAD deal was part of his election campaign.

Two launchers had arrived ahead of Moon’s inauguration last month.

Also, a local television footage showed the presence of four additional launchers back in April.

“President Moon ordered to find out how the four additional rocket launchers were brought into the country, who made such a decision, why this has not been disclosed to the people and why this has not been reported to the new administration even to date,” presidential spokesperson Yoon Young-chan told reporters at a briefing.

His party has been pushing for a parliamentary review of the THAAD deployment amid both domestic concerns about the system and pressure from China to abandon the plan.

Supporters of THAAD believe the system offers extra protection against threats from North Korea, which has carried out at least nine ballistic missile tests this year.

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