SEOUL Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is expected to run for president of South Korea, said on Sunday it is appropriate for the country to be the site of a U.S. anti-missile system that is due to be deployed later this year.
"Since the reality is the Korean peninsula is in a quasi-war-like state, such action made by the government is appropriate," Ban was quoted by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency as saying.
China objects strongly to the planned deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system as it worries its powerful radar can penetrate its territory.
Ban said he "understands THAAD deployment is made as a defensive measure, as ultimately North Korea is developing nuclear missiles and accumulating ballistic missile technology," he was quoted as telling reporters at the memorial for the 2010 sinking of a navy ship that South Korea blames on the North.
"There is the issue of relations with neighboring countries. This problem can be solved diplomatically," Ban said, according to Yonhap.
Ban returned to South Korea on Thursday after his decade at the helm of the global body ended in December. He has yet to say whether or not he will run for president.
(Reporting by Tony Munroe and Yun Hwan Chae; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)