South Korea and the United States will launch formal talks on Friday about the deployment in the South Korean territory of a sophisticated U.S. missile defense system, Seoul's defense ministry said.
The two sides signed an agreement to form a joint working group charged with discussing details on the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) deployment, including schedules, appropriate sites and cost-sharing, the defense ministry said.
According to South Korean media, the agreement is a document referring to the working group's representatives, personnel setup, agendas, report on meetings and meetings record.
The South Korean side will be represented by Army Maj. Gen. Jang Kyung-Soo, the ministrys director general for policy, while the U.S. side will be led by Maj. Gen. Robert Hedelund from U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) command that will represent the Pentagon.
The joint working group will hold its inaugural meeting later in the day at the headquarters of South Korea's defense ministry.
The ministry said that both sides will discuss a possibility for the deployment of the THAAD that will be operated in South Korea by the USFK as part of efforts to enhance the allies' joint missile defense readiness.
The joint working group will talk about various issues such as appropriate sites, safety and environment, cost-sharing and schedules, according to the ministry.
The launch of talks about the THAAD deployment came after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched a long-range rocket on Feb. 7 after conducting its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6.
Hours after Pyongyang launched the rocket, which outsiders see as a banned test of missile technology, Seoul and Washington jointly announced their plan to start talks about the THAAD deployment.