Part of THAAD elements deployed in South Korea
Seoul: Part of the elements of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile system has been deployed in South Korea, its Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.
Without elaborating, the Ministry said in a statement that part of the THAAD battery was installed in the southeastern part of the country in a bid to secure an initial operational capability without any separate construction of facilities, Xinhua news agency reported.
Seoul and Washington agreed in July 2016 to deploy one THAAD battery by the end of 2017. The site was changed in September 2016 into a golf course, which Lotte Group had owned in South Gyeongsang province.
On March 6, two mobile launchers and part of the elements were delivered by a US transport airplane to a US military base in South Korea.
Since then, other THAAD elements had been secretly transported to the US bases in South Korea’s port city of Busan, Osan city near here and Camp Carroll near Seongju, according to the media.
A THAAD battery is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, an AN/TPY-2 radar and the fire and 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., violently dispersing local residents and peace activists who blocked the entrance road to the site, the residents and activists said in a statement.
The remaining US trucks carrying other equipments entered the golf course some two hours later. A total of 20 US trucks or so carried the THAAD elements, one of the peace activists protesting there told Xinhua.
One resident was hauled up and over 10 others were wounded in by the police. Thousands of South Korean policemen were mobilised to disperse the protesters.
The Seoul Defence Ministry said South Korea and the US made efforts to rapidly secure an operational capability of the THAAD system to respond to what it called the nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
It said the South Korean military plans to secure a full operational capability of the THAAD by the end of 2017, while normally proceeding with the remaining deployment procedures such as the environmental assessment and the construction of the THAAD site.