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Presidential office: ‘2 THAAD missile launchers previously deployed will not be withdrawn’

Presidential office: ‘2 THAAD missile launchers previously deployed will not be withdrawn’

Posted June. 08, 2017 07:13,   

Updated June. 08, 2017 07:20


The presidential office said on Wednesday that it will not withdraw two missile launchers and the surveillance radar (AN/TPY-2) that have been already deployed even if environmental impact assessment of the site for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province is conducted. It also made it clear that the deployment of the four launchers that were already brought into Korea can be done only after the completion of environmental impact assessment.

“There is no reason to withdraw the missile launchers that have been deployed (already) just because environmental impact assessment will be conducted,” a senior official at the presidential office told reporters on the day. On the four missile launchers that sparked controversy over "omission in the Defense Ministry’s reporting" to the new administration, the official said, “We will not do anything about the progress that has been already made, but the deployment (of four launchers) will be possible only after the environmental impact assessment is completed.”

“The entire 700,000 sq. meter site that is has been (or will be) transferred (to the U.S. military) for THAAD deployment is the project area,” the official claimed, refuting the Defense Ministry’s judgement that only 320,000 sq. meter area at the site should be subjected to environmental impact assessment. The official has made it clear that the THAAD site is not a subject for a small-scale environmental impact assessment (measuring less than 330,000 sq. meters) that takes shorter time to conduct.

“A probe by the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs office at the presidential office will be limited to ‘omission from reporting,’ and investigation of THAAD deployment process will be done at the Defense Ministry," another presidential office source said. "Accordingly (the presidential office) will request the Board of Audit and Inspection to inspect the case.” The source has indicated that an intense inspection of work process and duty will be conducted by the Board of Audit and Inspection sooner rather than later.

Sang-Jun Han alwaysj@donga.com