Korea will not joint the US-led missile defense initiative, but will go its “own path”:
Currently, South Korea is building an independent, low-tier missile shield called the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system with a plan to upgrade PAC-2 missiles to PAC-3.
“Unlike the U.S. missile defense system covering its mainland, Hawaii and Guam, the KAMD system is aimed at only intercepting missiles from North Korea,” Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told reporters.
“Considering need, suitability and budget availability, we will not join the U.S. missile defense system, but take our own path.”
Presumably, this is to prevent diplomatic problems with China. What’s interesting—other than the fact that Korea apparently expects the United States to help protect it from missile attack but doesn’t feel it should help stop a missile attack on the United States, let alone Japan—is that some felt the proposed delay in transferring wartime operational command had something to do with Korean participation in the US-led MD program:
The unscheduled press briefing is seen as the ministry’s move to preemptively calm down growing speculation that the postponement of wartime operational control (OPCON) may have to do with South Korea’s participation in the U.S. missile defense system. The OPCON transition is scheduled for December 2015, but South Korea has asked the U.S. side to reconsider the handover, citing changed security situation on the Korean Peninsula due to rising North Korean threats.
However, the minister denied it, saying “There was no missile defense discussion in tandem with the OPCON issue.”
One would hope this has an impact on the discussions on the delay. But I doubt it.