- Title: South Korea says securing THAAD location could be delayed
- Date: 16th January 2017
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (FILE) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF SOUTH KOREAN DEFENCE MINISTRY SOUTH KOREAN NATIONAL FLAGS (CENTRE) AND MILITARY FLAGS
- Embargoed: 30th January 2017 04:48
- Keywords: South Korea defence ministry U.S. missile Terminal High Altitude Area Defence THAAD
- Location: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
- City: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
- Country: South Korea
- Topics: Defence,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0025ZBXP39
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS A WHITE FLASH TO SEPARATE SOUNDBITES
The signing of a contract which would secure the location of a U.S. missile defence system in South Korea could be delayed, Seoul's defence ministry said on Monday (January 16).
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system is due to be deployed on land which is now part of a golf course owned by the Lotte Group conglomerate in the Seongju region, southeast of South Korea's capital Seoul.
"The plan to go ahead with the exchange was supposed to be signed by mid-January or end of January, but there is a possibility it will be slightly delayed," South Korean defence ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told a regular news briefing.
"Lotte needs to hold a meeting of the board of directors to approve the final assessment fee. We understand that the meeting has not happened yet, but will be held soon," Moon added.
South Korea and the U.S. say the deployment of THAAD is designed to protect against North Korea's growing nuclear and ballistic capabilities.
But Beijing objects strongly to its use in South Korea, where it says THAAD's powerful radar could penetrate Chinese territory, leading to calls from some South Korea opposition leaders to delay or cancel its deployment.
South Korea has been gripped by a political crisis since lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in December to impeach President Park Geun-hye over an influence-peddling scandal. The motion is now with the Constitutional Court and will trigger an early presidential election if upheld.
The deployment of THAAD in rural Seongju has been met with protests from farmers concerned that the sophisticated missile defence system's advanced radar will damage local melon crops and make the small town a target of a North Korean attack.
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