Senators Urge Trump to Complete THAAD Deployment to South Korea, Press China to End Retaliation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) sent a bipartisan letter to President Donald Trump – prior to his meeting this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping – to support the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to South Korea and to draw attention to unwarranted Chinese retaliation to the deployment of this missile defense system.

Underscoring the increasingly unpredictable and volatile nature of North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile tests, the Senators wrote:

“As President Xi knows well, THAAD is a defensive missile system critical to protecting the Korean people and, just as importantly, the tens of thousands of American troops and their families stationed in Northeast Asia from evolving North Korean capabilities. In your discussions with President Xi, we hope you will underscore that the United States and the Republic of Korea’s joint decision to deploy THAAD is entirely a result of North Korea’s continued aggressive behavior."

The Senators added:

“While China continues to aggressively oppose a missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula, China has done little in recent years to slow or halt North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs—the only reason this system is needed. Mr. President, we hope you will call upon President Xi to reexamine his view of the THAAD deployment and encourage his country to cease its unwarranted and unfair economic retaliation against South Korea. We also hope that, given China’s considerable influence over North Korea, you will discuss how China can play a more productive role in efforts to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea.”

Other signatories to the letter include Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), John McCain (R-AZ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT), David Perdue (R-GA), Gary Peters (D-MI),  Jack Reed (D-RI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Luther Strange (R-AL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Roger F. Wicker (R-MI), and Todd Young (R-IN).

A copy of the full letter is available HERE.