Land-swap deal for Thaad inked

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Land-swap deal for Thaad inked

Korea’s military formally signed a land-swap deal with Lotte Group on Tuesday, paving the way for the installation of an advanced U.S. missile defense system this year, the defense ministry said.

The Defense Ministry and Lotte Group agreed to exchange properties to complete the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system “within this year,” the ministry said in a statement.

Lotte has agreed to hand over a golf course in the southeastern rural county of Seongju, North Gyeongsang, in exchange for state-owned military land east of Seoul.

“We will push forward the Thaad deployment plan without delays to better safeguard the well-being of our nation and the lives of citizens against North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats,” it said.

The anti-missile system is widely expected to be installed in June or July. Pyongyang’s continued provocations apparently provided a strong impetus for Seoul and Washington to agree in July last year to deploy the Thaad system by the end of 2017.

Lotte has declined to comment due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Group affiliates like Lotte Duty Free Shop and Lotte Department Store that are heavily invested in China could expect hard times down the line.

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