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THAAD deployment within this year seems highly unlikely

Posted July. 29, 2017 07:41,   

Updated July. 29, 2017 07:56


The Korean government plans to conduct an environmental impact analysis on the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province from the ground up. The Ministry of National Defense announced Friday its new design of environmental eval‎uation protocol on THAAD. Accordingly, the defense ministry will perform a full-scale environmental analysis on the THAAD base (328,779 m²) in Seongju that has been granted to U.S. Forces in Korea (USFK) in April as a follow-up to the previous small-scale environmental eval‎uation. Also, the additional THAAD base (330,000-370,000 m²), which will be provided to USFK, will be subject to a large-scale environmental eval‎uation.

"The entire THAAD base for USFK will be subject to a full-scale environmental eval‎uation to decide whether to deploy a THAAD unit,” the defense ministry said. In other words, the ministry has accepted the government’s proposal made in early June that the entire Seongju Golf Course (700,000 m²) to be provided to USFK will be subject to an environmental analysis. USFK is currently operating two THAAD launch pads and detection radar in Seongju base. Since Korean President Moon Jae-in instructed reexamination on environmental eval‎uation in early June, the remaining four launch pads have been warehoused in Camp Carroll in Chilgok County due to a temporary halt in THAAD deployment.

In the meantime, the defense ministry will continue construction activities for temporary operation of THAAD deployed at Seongju base and support facilities for U.S. soldiers. “Typically, a full-scale environmental eval‎uation requires 10 to 15 months but we will try to expedite the analysis,” the defense ministry said. However, worries on long-term interruption in operation of the THAAD system would remain as the eval‎uation is likely to require at least one year for completion.

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