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Talks underway over S. Korea's requirements for missile defense: U.S. official

South Korea and the United States are discussing how Seoul can contribute more to regional missile defense, a senior U.S. official said.

Rose Gottemoeller, acting under secretary of state for arms control and international security, emphasized bolstering missile defense in the region is crucial in promoting diplomatic efforts toward North Korea.

"The United States stands ready to work with the Republic of Korea (ROK) to strengthen its ballistic missile defense (BMD) capabilities," she said at a multinational BMD forum in Poland, according to a transcript released by the State Department.

She said the allies are working together to "define possible future ROK BMD requirements and the United States looks forward to taking further steps to build upon this ongoing missile defense relationship."

The remarks by Gottemoeller, nominated to become under secretary of state handling the issue, came as public questions linger in South Korea about the scope of the nation's role in countering North Korea's growing missile threat.

The South Korean military is developing its own ballistic missile system, the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), designed to intercept missiles targeting the country.

South Korea claims KAMD would operate separately but in concert with U.S. systems.

Gottemoeller said missile defense is an effective tool not only to discourage North Korea from launching missile attacks but also to encourage the South and Japan to embrace diplomatic efforts toward the communist nation. (Yonhap News)