Rally continues against shield
ROK defense chief says further deployment can be reconsidered
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
People protest against the deployment the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system in Seoul on Sunday.