In a sharp move to counter recent missile launches by North Korea the US sent its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to South Korea on Monday evening. The North Koreans had just launched four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan the day before.

Watch the arrival of the THAAD missile system to South Korea

Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, hailed the development, calling it “a positive step forward for U.S.-ROK cooperation to confront North Korea’s escalating missile threat.”

“The reality is that this missile defense system is only necessary because China has aided and abetted North Korea for decades. If China has genuine concerns about the deployment of THAAD in South Korea, it should cease its attempts to undermine South Korea’s sovereign ability to defend itself and use its considerable influence to pressure North Korea to stop its destabilizing behavior.” –

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system usually consists of six vehicles with attached launchers that can hold 48 total interceptors. It is designed to take out medium range ballistic missiles that may be a threat from the north. The range of the system is only about 125 miles so this is clearly a move to defend South Korea from North Korean threats.

Japan is also considering deploying the missile system in their territory to send a message to North Korea.

Featured image of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor being launched during a successful intercept test by US Army