07:30 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Anti-war activists hold placards during a rally against talks on deployment of the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, THAAD, outside South Korea's defence ministry in Seoul on March 4, 2016

    Why South Koreans’ THAAD Radiation Fears Are ‘Fully Justified’

    © AFP 2019 / JUNG YEON-JE
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    Residents of South Korea’s Seongju, a town in North Gyeongsang Province, are protesting the planned deployment of the US THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system in their town. They fear the military installation may put their communities in danger and demand the retraction of the decision to deploy THAAD in their locality.

    In an interview with Sputnik 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 agricultural crops.

    “Such systems are normally stationed away from populated areas to minimize their impact on people. For a system like THAAD to be harmless to humans, it must be placed dozens or even hundreds of kilometers away,” Sivkov said.

    When asked whether the risk to the local population was worth it, Sivkov said that since the system was designed to shoot down North Korea’s tactical missiles, the risk could be justified from a military point of view, but not from that of people living around it.

    “In addition to radiation, the locals risk becoming sitting ducks  because even if shot down or sidetracked by THAAD, incoming missiles will still be falling down on their heads, so their fears are fully justified,” Sivkov added.

    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.

    Earlier this  month, South Korea and the United States announced they agreed to deploy the THAAD system with the US military stationed in South Korea to counter North Korea's alleged missile threat.

    However, the stationing of the THAAD system is making South Korea potential target of a mistake attack by the North. THAAD is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles at the terminal incoming stage.

    Related:

    US to Reveal THAAD to S Korean Reporters on Monday Amid Health Risks Fears
    THAAD Deployment in S Korea Brings End to Seoul’s 'Double Game'
    Tags:
    radiation, potential risks, deployment, missile defense system, THAAD missile defense system, Organization of Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea, Oh Mi Chong, Konstantin Sivkov, Russia
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