SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) - Conservative politicians in South Korea are trying to politicize security issues, with early presidential race looming large ahead of the constitutional court's ruling on the motion to impeach President Park Geun-hye.
Since the impeachment bill was passed on Dec. 9, the court has been deliberating whether to permanently force Park out of office or reinstate her. The final decision is forecast to be made before the middle of next month.
A presidential election must be held in 60 days if the court upholds the bill. The rejection will delay the election to an originally scheduled date in December.
Amid the high possibility for the upholding, conservative politicians have been trying to politicize security issues as support for them tumbled with the presidential impeachment, caused by a corruption scandal that has derailed the conservative bloc in recent months.
Escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula and greater importance placed on a military alliance with the United States tended to grant election victories to the conservative camp.
This time around, politicians of the ruling Liberty Korea Party and its splinter conservative Righteous Party attempt to increase public fears toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and tout Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.
The governing party's floor leader on Wednesday called on the Park government to complete the deployment of the U.S. missile shield, which Seoul and Washington agreed to in July last year, as rapidly as possible.
Rep. Yoo Seong-min, one of the two Righteous Party presidential contenders, even claimed 2-3 THAAD batteries to be installed in South Korean soil by purchasing the anti-missile systems from the U.S.
Growing calls for THAAD in the conservative bloc followed the DPRK's test-launch of a new Pukguksong-2 ballistic missile on Sunday, which South Korea sees as a fresh nuclear missile threat that can target its entire territory and Japan.
Conservative politicians claim that the new DPRK missile can be fired at a high angle to curtail a range and strike the South Korean territory. There is little possibility for the DPRK to launch the missile at a steep angle as it takes time and raises chances to be intercepted.
The DPRK test-fired the Pukguksong-2 at an angle of 89 degrees to raise it as high as about 550 km and make it fly around 500 km toward eastern waters. It was aimed at testing its capability and getting technology to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The DPRK's KCNA news agency said the Sunday launch re-confirmed the separation of vehicles at the stages and verified the position control and guidance in the midcourse and reentry sections.
The THAAD deployment will escalate arms race in Northeast Asia as more shields will bring more spears, such as nuclear missiles, to the region. For fear of the arms race, the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty was signed in 1972 between the Soviet Union and the U.S., which later repealed it unilaterally.
Conservative politicians are forecast to emphasize the need for the THAAD deployment as they may believe rising concerns about the DPRK's nuclear threats and the subsequent calls for U.S. weapons can help them win support from conservative voters.
Such political ploy will leave no diplomatic room for the next South Korean government as the hurried installation increases tensions between South Korea and its neighboring countries.
China and Russia have strongly opposed the THAAD deployment in South Korea as it breaks regional balance and severely damages security interests of the two countries.
The biggest opposition Minjoo Party has claimed a final decision on the THAAD deployment should be relayed to the next government for negotiations with neighboring countries and open discussions at home.