Rally con­tin­ues against shield

ROK de­fense chief says fur­ther de­ploy­ment can be re­con­sid­ered

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

SEOUL — A protest against the de­ploy­ment of the US Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fense mis­sile sys­tem con­tin­ued in Seoul on Tues­day after Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in or­dered con­sul­ta­tions with the United States on fur­ther de­ploy­ment of the launch­ers.

Amid the swel­ter­ing heat, peace ac­tivists gath­ered at the Gwangh­wa­mun Square in cen­tral Seoul, de­mand­ing an im­me­di­ate with­drawal of the US mis­sile shield which has been de­ployed to the coun­try’s south­east­ern re­gion.

It fol­lowed a demon­stra­tion out­side the pres­i­den­tial Blue House and the De­fense Min­istry’s head­quar­ters on Mon­day, in which more than 100 ac­tivists and res­i­dents living near the THAAD site par­tic­i­pated.

The ac­tivists read a state­ment en­dorsed by about 40 en­vi­ron­men­tal groups, call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to con­duct a “strate­gic” en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment, not a “general” green au­dit.

The Moon gov­ern­ment, which was in­au­gu­rated on May 10, an­nounced a plan last month to carry out an as­sess­ment of the THAAD’s en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact on the de­ploy­ment site, while part of the US shield is op­er­a­tional and con­struc­tion is un­der­way.

The eval­u­a­tion re­quires the with­drawal of the al­ready de­ployed THAAD el­e­ments as it has to be de­ter­mined whether the de­ploy­ment is nec­es­sary.

The green ac­tivists said in the state­ment that the THAAD’s en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­ages to peo­ple, in­clud­ing elec­tro­mag­netic waves and noise, have not been eval­u­ated yet, de­mand­ing a thor­ough ver­i­fi­ca­tion of po­ten­tial harm.

The AN/TPY-2 radar is known to emit su­per mi­crowave that is detri­men­tal to hu­man body and en­vi­ron­ment. One THAAD bat­tery is com­posed of six mo­bile launch­ers, 48 in­ter­cep­tors, the radar and the fire and con­trol unit.

Moon or­dered the start of con­sul­ta­tions with the United States on the de­ploy­ment of the re­main­ing THAAD launch­ers after the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea launched an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile on Fri­day.

One protester ex­pressed her deep sense of dis­ap­point­ment at the new gov­ern­ment.

“The cur­rently de­ployed THAAD is il­le­gal. The fur­ther de­ploy­ment will never be ac­cepted. We will stop THAAD on the road by mo­bi­liz­ing all avail­able tools,” said Lee Seokju, chief of the Soseong-ri vil­lage in Seong ju.

De­fense Min­is­ter Song Young-moo said on Mon­day that the de­ci­sion to “tem­po­rar­ily” de­ploy four more mo­bile launch­ers of the THAAD sys­tem can be re­con­sid­ered if peo­ple feel anx­ious about it.

Min­istry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun said on Mon­day that the de­ploy­ment of six THAAD launch­ers would be de­cided upon after con­sul­ta­tions be­tween Seoul and Wash­ing­ton.

Asked about whether the con­sul­ta­tion was launched after Moon’s in­struc­tion, the spokesman said “yes”.

The two al­lies have re­port­edly ex­changed opin­ions on the ad­di­tional de­ploy­ment through phone con­ver­sa­tions.

The DPRK’s ICBM is not a di­rect threat to the ROK ter­ri­tory as an ICBM strike tar­get cov­ers at least 5,500 kilo­me­ters.

THAAD is un­able to shoot down DPRK mis­siles tar­get­ing the ROK ter­ri­tory as the US mis­sile sys­tem is de­signed to in­ter­cept mis­siles at an al­ti­tude of 40-150 km. The DPRK at­tack mis­siles, which take aim at the ROK, fly at an al­ti­tude of less than 40 km.

The cur­rently de­ployed THAAD is il­le­gal. The fur­ther de­ploy­ment will never be ac­cepted.” Lee Seok-ju, chief of the Soseong-ri vil­lage in Seongju

JUNG YEON-JE / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Peo­ple protest against the de­ploy­ment the US Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fense mis­sile sys­tem in Seoul on Sun­day.

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