SEOUL, Aug. 16 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s defense chief will visit Seongju, the selected site for an advanced U.S. anti-missile system this week, to hold talks with local residents angered by the “unilateral” deployment decision, the defense ministry said Tuesday.
Han Min-koo will visit the rural county, 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Wednesday, “mainly to listen to the opinions of local residents about the planned deployment of the THAAD battery,” Moon Sang-gyun, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said in a daily briefing.
Seoul and Washington agreed to get the THAAD system operational by late 2017.
Seongju residents have protested the decision by Seoul and Washington mainly because they fear potential health risks linked to the system’s powerful X-band radar.
“If he finds an opportunity to do so, the minister will deliver a briefing on the selection process of Seongju as the site for the missile defense system,” the spokesman said.
On July 8, the two allies announced a decision to install a THAAD battery in South Korea to better defend against growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
The North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January followed by a long range missile launch the following month.
Over the past few months, the reclusive country fired off several intermediate-range and sub-launched ballistic missiles in addition to shorter-range rockets.