20:36 GMT07 July 2020
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    South Korean authorities are ready to consider an alternative site for the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system deployment over the protests of Seongju county residents, the country's Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo held a meeting with representatives from Seongju county, which was initially chosen for the THAAD deployment.

    "The defense minister said the government will give consideration to an alternative site (for THAAD) if local residents reach an understanding on a new location," the Ministry of National Defense said, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

    According to the minister, a full consensus among residents is needed for choosing the alternative site, though the military consider Seongju county to be the "the most optimal" location for THAAD deployment.

    According to the media outlet, the minister said a report over the site selection process would be provided before the deployment of the system.

    Earlier this week, hundreds of Seongju county residents shaved their heads in protest against the planned THAAD deployment. Opponents of the move have reportedly voiced health concerns over the system's powerful radar, as well as the potential danger of being targeted while living in proximity of THAAD, according to media reports.

    In July, South Korea and the United States announced that they had agreed to deploy the system in the South Korean Seongju County amid increased tensions on the peninsula over North Korea's nuclear and missile program.

    The THAAD system is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles at the terminal incoming stage. The system's deployment to Seoul has caused concerns of North Korea, as well as China and Russia.


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