The "first elements" of a controversial anti-missile system sent to South Korea by the United States arrived on Monday, U.S. officials told NBC News.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is "strictly defensive," the officials said, meant to protect South Korea against missiles fired by North Korea. North Korea launched four medium-range missiles on Monday, with three traveling 620 miles and landing in the water near Japan, and South Korea's acting president and prime minister said the consequences of Pyongyang having nuclear weapons would be "horrible and beyond imagination." Last year, Beijing spoke out against THAAD being deployed to South Korea, calling it a "clear, present, and substantive threat to China's security interests." There are already THAAD systems active in Guam and Hawaii to defend against North Korea.