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1st LD: Part of THAAD elements deployed in South Korea

Xinhua, April 26, 2017 Adjust font size:

Part of the elements of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system has been deployed in southeastern South Korea, Seoul's defense ministry said Wednesday.

Without elaborating, the ministry said in a statement that part of the THAAD battery was installed in the site in a bid to secure an initial operational capability without any separate construction of facilities.

Seoul and Washington agreed in July last year to deploy one THAAD battery by the end of this year. The site was changed in September last year into a golf course, which Lotte Group had owned, at Soseong-ri village in Seongju county, South Gyeongsang province.

On March 6, two mobile launchers and part of the elements were delivered by a U.S. transport airplane to a U.S. military base in South Korea.

Since then, other THAAD elements had been secretly transported to the U.S. bases in South Korea's port city of Busan, Osan city near Seoul and Camp Carroll near Seongju, according to Newsis news agency.

A THAAD battery is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, an AN/TPY-2 radar and the fire & control unit.

Eight trucks and equipments, including the X-band radar, two mobile launchers and an electric generator, entered the golf course at about 4:45 a.m. local time, violently dispersing local residents and peace activists who blocked the entrance road to the site, according to a statement released by the residents and activists.

The remaining U.S. trucks carrying other equipments entered the golf course some two hours later. A total of 20 U.S. trucks or so carried the THAAD elements, one of the peace activists protesting there told Xinhua.

One resident was hauled in by police and over 10 others were wounded while attempting to block the entrance that started at around midnight. Thousands of South Korean policemen were mobilized to disperse the protesters.

The Seoul defense ministry said South Korea and the United States made efforts to rapidly secure an operational capability of the THAAD system to respond to what it called the nuclear and missile threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

It said the South Korean military plans to secure a full operational capability of the THAAD by the end of this year, while normally proceeding with the remaining deployment procedures such as the environmental assessment and the construction of the THAAD site. Endit