Decision on THAAD site in a year
SEOUL — The South Korean government announced a plan on Friday to make a final decision on the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense deployment after a yearlong environmental impact assessment of the proposed site has been conducted.
According to the Defense Ministry, a final decision on THAAD’s installation in the southeast of the country will be made after a general assessment of the site in accordance with domestic law.
Since December last year, a small-size green audit had been conducted on 328,800 square meters of land at a golf course in Seong ju county, North Gyeongsang province.
The results of that audit were submitted on Monday to the Environment Ministry, according to local media reports.
The military was given the former golf course, which totals an area of 1.48 million square meters, in February from Lotte, the country’s fifthbiggest conglomerate, in exchange for land near Seoul.
The military had reportedly planned to provide 700,000 square meters of land for the THAAD deployment, but the offering process was divided into two phases to avoid a large-size green audit.
According to domestic law, the military land provision of less than 330,000 square meters is allowed to receive a small-sized green audit.
President Moon Jae-in, who took office on May 10, ordered another green audit in accordance with domestic law, revealing the offering process had been divided into two phases.
The South Korean military is believed to be willing to offer 600,000-700,000 square meters of land for the defense system’s installation.
Residents in Seongju county and Gimcheon city, which borders the county and faces the super microwave-emitting X-band radar, denounced the audit decision, demanding the “strategic” assessment of environmental impact be conducted.
The strategic green audit means the withdrawal of all of the deployed THAAD elements for an overall review on the deployment decision from the very beginning.
Washington announced the deployment decision in July last year.
On April 26, just two weeks before the presidential election, two mobile launchers and other elements of the US shield were transported at night to the site.
Four mobile launchers were already delivered to a nearby US military base. One THAAD battery is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, the AN/TPY-2 radar and the fire-and-control unit.