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Defense ministry cancels test on THHAD electromagnetic waves

Defense ministry cancels test on THHAD electromagnetic waves

Posted July. 22, 2017 07:14,   

Updated July. 22, 2017 07:31


The Ministry of National Defense of Korea announced on Friday that the ministry has cancelled the plan to perform on-site testing to measure the amount of electromagnetic waves from the U.S. Thermal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province.

“We had coordinated a plan to measure electromagnetic waves from THAAD in areas near the U.S. base with local residents, but we pulled back from the plan. We tried to invite local residents during the test as we promised, but opponents are refusing their participation,” said Moon Sang-gyun, spokesman for the defense ministry. “We will collect opinions from local and regional residents and provide assistance for test or verification regarding the safety of THAAD electromagnetic waves.”

The defense ministry’s test was scheduled to take place in four locations near the deployment site, including Soseong Village in Seongju, Nogok Village, and Wolmyeong Village, Nam Township and Yulgok-dong in Gimcheon, with on-site monitoring from 45 observers including local county officials, city government officials, residents and reporters.

However, anti-THHAD groups held a press conference on Thursday and said they would not “accept the test by the government that has been designed unilaterally in the absence of discussion or consultation with local residents and opponents.”

Officials of the defense ministry and press corps visited a THAAD unit at U.S. Andersen Base in Guam last July to measure electromagnetic waves. They conducted the test at a training center, which was about 1.6 kilometers away from a THAAD detect radar in the base, and recorded the maximum of 0.007W per square meter of electromagnetic waves. This is only 0.007 percent of 10W per square meter, a base line of the amount that can harm the human body as set by the Korea Communications Commission. In other words, the level is low enough to ignore in terms of its impact on the human body or the environment. “It seems that opponents have refused their participation at on-site testing amid worries over losing their justification if it is verified harmless as confirmed in Guam,” a military source said.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com