President undeterred by THAAD opposition [2016/08/03 13:43]

President Park Geun-hye on Thursday reiterated the necessity of deploying a disputed antimissile system here, calling on her team to “stay firm” against backlash.

“The government decided to deploy THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), seeing it as the optimal method to protect our country and people from North Korea`s threats,” the president said at the opening session of the National Security Council meeting attended by key ministers, the intelligence chief, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a senior secretary for foreign affairs, among others.

“If there is a way other than THAAD to protect our people from the North`s missile attacks, please suggest it,” Park said. She also defended her senior secretary for civil affairs Woo Byung-woo who has been accused of involvement in corruption cases.

“Those of you here (who are being accused) should not avoid denunciation ... until the time comes for you to be able to clear your name. I hope that you will stand true to your conviction by befriending the hardship,” she said, although she did not specifically mention Woo, who was not at the meeting.

Park and her team are facing a growing schism over a spate of allegations of election meddling and irregularities. The administration is also struggling with widespread opposition to its decision with the U.S. to deploy the THAAD system here, due to concerns over its potential diplomatic and environmental impact.

Park supported THAAD by citing the repeated military provocations of the communist regime, including its launch of ballistic missiles earlier this week.

“As we had predicted while discussing the THAAD deployment, the North`s missile drills are taking aim at our southern cities such as Busan, Ulsan, Pohang, Daegu and Gimhae,” she said.

It is possible that the North might carry out military aggression or a random terrorist attack upon civilians, considering the communist regime`s recent moves to reinforce its military facilities near the inter-Korea borders, the president said.

Park especially tried to ease the public`s antipathy toward the defense system, which involves disputes over residents` health, the environment, as well as its potential negative impact on the nation`s ties with China.

“Not only the president and the government, but also the political circles and the people should work together to protect the country, our homes and children.”

She added that the THAAD deployment should not be approached from a political perspective, claiming that internal division over the issue will only increase social confusion and consequently benefit North Korea.

“It is crucial to sort out rebellious powers (so as to prevent the THAAD issue from turning into political strife),” she said, referring to the dissenting voices that largely reflect political interests instead of national security ones.

“I request the people of the deployment region to find an optimal solution through communication.”

Despite the president`s unyielding stance, some 2,000 residents from Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, held a protesting rally at Seoul Station Plaza in the afternoon to call for the annulment of the missile defense system`s deployment.
출처: 헤럴드미디어 영자신문 코리아헤럴드 (