The temporary deployment of the U.S. missile defense system in South Korea is necessary to defend the country from North Korean provocations, and also to force the communist state to return to the dialogue table, a ranking official from Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.
The official also said that Seoul understood China's opposition, but that it will continue to try to convince China to see the need to put additional pressure on Pyongyang.
"The North's nuclear test is currently taken very seriously by the international community, and we believe we have no choice but to take part in international efforts to punish the North under the current circumstances," the official said, while speaking on condition of anonymity.
"As President Moon Jae-in has said, our final goal is to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue through peaceful and diplomatic means, but we believe the most important thing at this stage is to apply pressure so the North will come out to the dialogue table."
North Korea staged its sixth and possibly most powerful nuclear test so far on Sunday.
Seoul responded with the deployment of an additional four launchers to complete the THAAD battery, drawing strong protests from China, a communist ally of Pyongyang, which claims the U.S. missile defense system could be used to spy on its own military.
"We believe the issue with China is something we have to address through dialogue," the Cheong Wa Dae official said.
"The government stance at this moment is that it is important to stop North Korea from making any more nuclear or missile provocations," he added. (Yonhap)