"After the process on the THAAD land provision began March 2 under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the South Korean Ministry of National Defense and the USFK [US Forces Korea] filed for a permission from the joint (South Korea-U.S.) SOFA committee for the land transfer… The chief of the joint committee approved it on Thursday, wrapping up the SOFA process," the ministry said in a statement, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
US military equipment installations have reportedly started despite protests by dozens of local residents. At least two people were injured in clashes with police, with one of these taken to hospital.
The Defense Ministry had chosen Seongju County's Lotte Skyhill Country Club golf course, previously owned by the Lotte Group, for the land needed to deploy THAAD earlier this year. In February, the Defense Ministry said environmental impact assessments of the deployment were being considered. Lotte Group agreed to a land swap deal the same month.
The THAAD agreement was reached by Seoul and Washington in July 2016. The move came amid growing tensions spurred by North Korea's recurring ballistic and nuclear tests.
The THAAD system has a range of some 200 kilometers (125 miles) and is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles at the terminal incoming stage. The move has been criticized by neighboring China and Russia as inappropriate, possibly disproportionate and affecting other countries' interests.
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