S.Korea's ruling party to push for parliamentary hearing on THAAD

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-12 16:08:53|Editor: xuxin
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SEOUL, May 12 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's ruling Minjoo Party said Friday that it will push for public hearing on the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system to stop conflicts over the issue.

Rep. Shim Jae-kwon, head of the Minjoo Party's special committee on THAAD, told reporters in the parliamentary building that the committee will push the parliamentary hearing on the THAAD deployment.

On April 26, part of a THAAD battery, including radar, was transported to a golf course in southeast South Korea, causing strong protest from residents and peace activists.

The THAAD elements, installed on the day, were two mobile launchers, the AN/TPY-2 radar and other equipments. One THAAD battery is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, the radar and the fire and control unit.

Seoul and Washington agreed in July last year to deploy one THAAD battery by the end of this year, and the site was changed into the golf course at Soseong-ri village in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province.

Lotte Group, the country's fifth-biggest family-controlled conglomerate that owned the golf course, signed a deal in late February with the defense ministry to exchange the golf course for military land around Seoul.

The signing accelerated the THAAD deployment, triggering violent tussles between residents and police officers.

Soseong-ri is a tiny, peaceful village, where the residents are mostly in their 70s or older. The tussle caused harsh criticism from the general public.

Anti-THAAD protesters demanded the public consensus and the parliamentary hearing whether to deploy the U.S. missile shield.

The Minjoo Party lawmaker told reporters that suspicions should be resolved on the legitimacy of the installation, the illegal transportation of THAAD equipments and the cost payment.

U.S. President Donald Trump said South Korea should pay for the THAAD, which would be installed in the country, and he estimated the costs at 1 billion U.S. dollars.

Trump's comments triggered strong public opposition as the previous government claimed South Korea's offer of land for the deployment in return for the deployment and operation that the United States bears the burden for.

Shim urged the defense ministry to immediately stop the illegal installation of the U.S. missile interception system as the new government was launched.

On his campaign trail, President Moon Jae-in repeatedly mentioned the need for the parliamentary approval and the public consensus before the THAAD deployment.

The lawmaker said the government should launch preparation for the parliamentary ratification process to prevent unnecessary conflicts over the THAAD issue.