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Pentagon expects 'policy consistency' in S. Korea after presidential impeachment

WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- The US Defense Department said Friday that it expects "policy consistency and continuity" on various issues with South Korea in the wake of the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross gave the comment in response to a question from Yonhap News Agency whether the impeachment could have any impact on the planned deployment of the THAAD missile defense system to the South.

"We look forward to working with Prime Minister Hwang in his new capacity as acting President of the ROK. We expect policy consistency and continuity across a range of fronts, including DPRK, other regional issues, and international economics and trade," Ross said, referring to Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.


Hwang took over as acting president after Park's powers were suspended following the impeachment. The Constitutional Court has 180 days to review the case to determine whether to endorse or reject the impeachment.

The impeachment could raise doubts about Park's decision to host a THAAD battery.

In July, South Korea and the US announced they will deploy a THAAD battery to cope with growing missile threats from North Korea. But opposition parties have strongly opposed the decision, arguing that the system isn't effective in defending against the North and its deployment would only seriously sour relations with China.

China has called for scrapping the decision, seeing THAAD, especially its powerful "X-band" radar, as a threat to its nuclear deterrent and other security interests, despite repeated assurances from Washington that the system is designed only to defend against the North.

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