Published: Sun, July 17, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

South Korea to announce site for U.S. missile defense

South Korea to announce site for U.S. missile defense

It went on to say that South Korea and the US are building an "Asian version of NATO" and trying to "check big countries in Northeast Asia".

Seongju is a town of 45,000 people, many of them grow yellow melons for a living. Some 3,000 residents in nearby Chilgok County demonstrated against THAAD on Saturday.

Beijing has sternly opposed the presence of the anti-missile battery on the southern part of the peninsula, arguing that it could be used by the United States to monitor its air space.

The South Korean Defence Ministry said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system would be deployed in the south-eastern county of Seongju, 276 kilometres south of Seoul, to maximise its effectiveness while minimising any impact on residents and the environment.

THAAD uses road-mobile launchers and missiles equipped with precise infrared seeking technology to intercept incoming enemy missiles after reentry from high altitude, during their final, or terminal, phase of flight.

North Korea is believed to be in possession of some 1,000 ballistic missiles, and 85 percent are targeting South Korea, according to the South Korean military.

South Korea's defence ministry on Wednesday said it will deploy THAAD - the U.S. missile defence system - to its southeastern region despite continued opposition from neighbouring countries.

KCNA, North Korea's state news agency.

This could delay release of the US citizens, giving North Korea one of its last bits of leverage in negotiations with the US, said T. Kumar, Amnesty International USA's international advocacy director.

The decision to deploy THAAD is the latest move to squeeze the increasingly isolated North Korea, but China worries the system's radar will be able to track its own military capabilities. The decision is a response to the USA calling leader Kim Jon Un the responsible for the country's human rights abuses. The THAAD's radar is said to be powerful enough to monitor some of the missile bases in Russian Federation and China from South Korea.

Beijing's Foreign Ministry said THAAD "far exceeds the Korean Peninsula defense needs" and "destabilizes the strategic balance of the region".

The Global Times, a Chinese communist party newspaper, has called for a ban on South Korean products and a travel ban on officials who support THAAD.

Yesterday, China urged the US and South Korea to halt the deployment. However, the release of past USA detainees has generally come only after visits to Pyongyang by high-profile USA leaders, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Kirby urged North Korea to adhere to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and grant consular access to any detained US citizens without delay.

On the domestic front, Park also faces the challenge of overcoming opposition to the deployment of the US missile defense system.

Many worry that the global tribunal's ruling could send South Korea into a hot spot where it could be squeezed by the two powers.

Meanwhile, satellite imagery indicates a high-level of activity at North Korea's nuclear test site to ensure the facility is always ready for use on any orders from Pyongyang, a USA think-tank said.

It also accused the South of "deception" in claiming that the range of the batteries is relatively short and that their objective is to defend the South against North Korean missile attacks.

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