Sat, September 23, 2017 | 09:18
Posted : 2017-09-04 17:08
Updated : 2017-09-05 11:25

4 more THAAD launchers to be deployed soon

A military helicopter carries equipments to the THAAD deployment site in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Monday. The military plans to resume the deployment following the completion of an environmental impact assessment. /Yonhap

By Kim Se-jeong

The Ministry of National Defense said Monday the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) will soon deploy the remaining four anti-missile launchers of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province.

Its announcement came hours after the Ministry of Environment gave the green light to the full deployment by concluding that the THAAD's impact on people and the neighboring environment would be very small.

"North Korea's nuclear weapons technology is advancing and the threat of missiles is growing. After consultations with the U.S., we now announce that the remaining four launchers will be temporarily installed," the ministry said in a statement.

"We will carry out additional work on the site for the equipment already there and start a new environmental assessment on land next to the current site that will also be part of the THAAD deployment."

Two launchers and radar are already in place at the current site, and the four other launchers are to be located on the adjacent land.

A helicopter carried related equipment to the Seongju site Monday afternoon.

Dismissing the assessment results, residents of Seongju vowed to fight the deployment.

The announcement came just in time for President Moon Jae-in who has few options in hand to protect the Korean people from the North's latest nuclear test.

The environmental assessment was aimed to assess THAAD's impact on noise and dust levels, and on the water and soil; as well as assessing the effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) on people, which was the most contentious point.

While saying the impact would be small, the ministry made certain recommendations to the defense ministry

It said the Korean and U.S. militaries must continue to monitor EMR levels, build anti-EMR walls near the site and keep citizens timely informed about any developments.

Regarding noise, it recommended the defense ministry set up a long-term monitoring plan and implement appropriate measures if it reaches too high a level. On possible soil and water contamination, the ministry was told to produce instruction manuals on managing oil and water used during operations and afterward.

The environment ministry also told the military to draw up a dust management plan for roads leading to the THAAD site, in addition to traffic plans to prevent car accidents involving local residents.

The minister said the recommendations are legally binding, both by Korean and U.S. laws. When there are conflicting laws, the tougher one will be taken as the standard.

사드 추가배치 임박…미군·반대주민 바쁜 움직임

미군 헬기로 집중 수송…6일 배치는 어려울 듯

사드(THAAD·고고도미사일방어체계) 발사대 4기 추가배치가 임박하자 5일 주한미군·경찰과 반대 주민 움직임이 바빠지고 있다.

주한미군 헬기 5대가 지난 4일 밤 10시께 사드기지에 들어가는 등 온종일 10여대의 헬기가 공사 장비·자재와 병력을 수송했다.

경찰은 5일 성주군 초전면 소성리 마을회관 부근 근무자 200여명을 교체한 이후에도 추가로 경찰력을 투입하는 등 분주한 모습을 보였다.

마을회관 앞에는 주민 50여명이 모여 앉아 사드 발사대 4기가 언제 추가 배치될지를 걱정하는 모습이다.

이번 주 내 발사대를 추가 배치할 것이란 예상이 지배적인 가운데 6일 배치는 어려울 것이란 전망이 나온다.

환경부의 소규모 환경영향평가 조건부 동의에 따라 행정절차를 밟는 시간이 필요한 데다 종일 비가 내릴 것으로 보여 경찰작전이 어렵기 때문이다.

주민이 매주 수요일에 수요집회를 열어온 점도 발사대 배치 날짜를 6일로 결정하는 데 걸림돌이 된다는 것이다.

사드반대 6개 시민단체는 5일부터 1박 2일간 대동제를 시작해 공연과 민속놀이 마당을 펼친다.

사드철회 종이피켓을 붙인 차량 10여대로 마을회관에서 사드기지 입구까지 시위를 한다.

이와 함께 7일부터 1주일간 2차 국민비상행동을 선포하고 사드 저지에 나선다는 계획이다.

원불교성주성지수호비상대책위윈회는 5일 오후 기자회견을 열어 '원불교가 환경부에 항의 방문한 것을 환경부가 '원불교와 협의했다'고 왜곡 발표한 점을 바로잡고, 교구 의장 8명의 사드배치 찬성은 개인적인 의견일 뿐 원불교의 공식입장이 아니다'라고 주장한다.(연합)