Outsiders must leave

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Outsiders must leave

The declaration by a committee of local residents opposing the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system in Seongju to depart from a joint consultative body suggests many things. The local committee said it had to make the decision because the remaining five committees had taken a hard-line stance, defying the local people’s intention to stage protests in a peaceful manner.

The joint consultative body triggered a public uproar by arbitrarily inspecting military and other vehicles that enter and exit the Lotte Skyhill Country Club — the Thaad deployment site. It is inconceivable in a law-abiding democratic society that a civic group would examine military vehicles without any authorization. We therefore ought to fully respect the local committee’s decision to leave the umbrella group, which habitually resorts to violence.

We witnessed a number of occasions in which outside forces attempted to thwart the implementation of government policies aimed at bolstering our national security. Such systematic obstruction took place in Gangjeong village, Jeju Island, where the government tried to build a naval base to reinforce our maritime security, and in Pyeongtaek, the site of a new U.S. military base. At those times, people from the outside spread groundless rumors to incite local residents to violence. Activists can express their concerns about potential environmental pollution and harmful electromagnetic waves, and authorities need to take appropriate steps to deal with such worries, but it doesn’t make sense if civic groups resort to unconditional opposition even if the government has devised reasonable countermeasures to ease their concerns.

It is deplorable for outsiders — not local people directly involved — to vent their discontent and fuel anxiety in such a violent manner whenever they don’t like government policies.

A scientific test led by the government has found no harmful effects from Thaad batteries. It is totally ludicrous that our people blindly oppose the deployment of the missile shield in the face of a possible missile attack from North Korea.

The outside groups, consisting mostly of so-called “professional protesters,” must leave the spot immediately, as they are now even shunned by locals. Otherwise, the violent group will be ostracized by our society forever.

JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 15, Page 26
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