South Koreans hold anti-THAAD protest near presidential office
Seoul, June 24 (IANS) South Korean residents and peace activists who had protested against the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) rallied near the presidential office in Yongsan district in central Seoul.
Around a hundred people for the anti-THAAD association told a press conference on Thursday that all the procedures of the US missile shield deployment have been abnormal and illegal, given the deployment decision without consent from residents and the parliament, the absence of environmental effect assessment, and the operation and the site construction under the name of "temporary deployment".
The government of President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office on May 10, decided to speed up the "normalisation" of the THAAD deployment site by transporting construction materials into the site and launching the environmental effect assessment in order to formally deploy the US missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula.
For the past year, police operations near the deployment site have been conducted two or three times per week to deliver construction materials. The number of operations was raised to five per week from June 7, Xinhua news agency reported.
The police operations to disperse anti-THAAD protesters, which entailed physical tussles and injuries, disrupted the daily life of residents at Soseong-ri village in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province where the THAAD battery was deployed, and nearby villages, the residents and activists said near the presidential office.
Among about 100 residents living in the closest village to the THAAD X-band radar, nine developed cancers for the past two years. The residents repeatedly demanded devices from the government to measure the electromagnetic waves emitted by the radar, but it was dismissed.
The residents and activists added that the formal THAAD deployment under the name of normalisation would destroy the daily life of residents and peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
They noted that the THAAD installation could trigger confrontation and arms race in the region as the US aimed to strengthen its missile defense capability through the THAAD battery deployed in South Korea.
The protesters raised placards near the presidential office that say "Stop construction for formal THAAD deployment that aims to build a (military) alliance among (South) Korea, the US and Japan," and "pull out THAAD and plant peace".
"THAAD withdrawal is a way to preserve peace," said the protesters who stressed that the US missile interception system is incapable of defending South Korea from missile threats of North Korea.
The THAAD battery is composed of six launchers, 48 interceptors, the AN/TPY-2 radar and the fire and control unit.