01:39 GMT +319 June 2019
Listen Live
    Residents chant slogans during a protest against goverments decision on deploying a US THAAD anti-missile defense unit in Seongju, South Korea, July 13, 2016

    THAAD Dilemma: Seoul's Safety Assurances 'Nothing But Enforcement'

    © REUTERS / Lee Jong-hyun/News1 via REUTERS
    Asia & Pacific
    Get short URL
    0 86

    Assuring that the planned deployment of the US THAAD system in South Korea is safe and that people should trust the government, Seoul is trying to force people to say "yes" to the missile network, Noh Taemaeong of the local Association of Physicians for Humanism told Sputnik.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Noh Taemaeong of South Korea's Association of Physicians for Humanism blamed Seoul for issuing safety assurances about the planned deployment of a US THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system in South Korea's Seongju County. It has urged people to trust the government in this issue, showing that Seoul is trying to force people to say "yes" to the deployment, according to him.

    Earlier this month, South Korea and the United States announced that they'd agreed to deploy the THAAD system with the US military stationed in South Korea to counter North Korea's alleged missile threat. The system is expected to be online in late 2017.

    In the interview, Noh said that residents of Seongju are actually in the dark about who will pay for the maintenance of the THAAD system and its characteristics in terms of security.

    "Statements about the harmful impact of electronic waves from THAAD radars may be an exaggeration, but the yes-everything-will-be-fine-trust-us mantra is nothing but enforcement. People should receive security from the state and the government, not seek confirmation of security," he said.

    He added that "if the government cannot provide simple and clear scientific evidence [of the THAAD system's safety], it is necessary to immediately suspend its deployment."

    Noh was echoed by a young man from Seongju, who, speaking to Sputnik on condition of anonymity, lashed out at the South Korean Prime Minister and other officials over their allegations about coming to Seongju and persuading residents to agree to THAAD's deployment.

    "Convincing comes during a negotiation process when the final decision is still pending. As for us, we had just been informed," he said.

    In a recent interview with the newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun, chairman of Seongju County Kim Hangon said that a decision to deploy the THAAD system has never been coordinated with local authorities. He said that no one elaborated on the possible harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation due to the THAAD system, and that he learned about the deployment from the media.

    "This is why it is small surprise that Seongju residents are highly concerned about the deployment," he said.

    Two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test
    © REUTERS / U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout
    In an interview with Sputnik earlier this month, Moscow-based defense expert Konstantin Sivkov said that THAAD's radar is very powerful and that exposure to its electromagnetic radiation could cause serious harm to nearby residents and could contaminate crops.

    Meanwhile, Oh Mi Chong, general secretary of the Organization of Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea, warned that the decision to deploy the US missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula was putting the lives of millions of South Koreans at risk.

    Russia and China also believe that the move will destabilize the situation in the region.

    Related:

    Why South Koreans’ THAAD Radiation Fears Are ‘Fully Justified’
    US to Reveal THAAD to S Korean Reporters on Monday Amid Health Risks Fears
    South Koreans Throw Bottles at Prime Minister in Protest Over THAAD
    US THAAD Systems to Protect Up to 2/3 of South Korean Territory
    Tags:
    deployment, security, radars, government, missile defense, safety, THAAD, South Korea
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik