No more controversyThe Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system has been fully installed and postured for operation after two years of controversy and dispute. The final four launchers have been deployed to complete the battery system comprising six launchers, 48 interceptor missiles and radar. The battery was partially deployed with two launchers and radar at the site which used to be a golf club in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang.
The government sped up the environmental assessment process and decided on a temporary full installation after North Korea tested intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, as well as what it claims to be a hydrogen bomb.
Thaad deployment has stoked misconception and opposition about the battery system due to a lack of explanatory procedures from the defense ministry at home and abroad. It ended up angering China and sparking retaliatory economic action. As a result, Korea-China ties have never been so bad. The two held separate ceremonies marking 25 years of diplomatic ties. President Moon Jae-in scolded the defense ministry for leaving out details of the Thaad process.
A small-scale environmental assessment to allow the temporary installment showed that the radar would have little impact on human bodies. No emission was detected in neighborhoods about two kilometers (1.24 miles) away from the battery unit. No noise could be heard in residential areas. A battery unit would comprise 200 to 300 members.
Thaad is just one of the minimum protections needed against the North Korean missile threat. The international community will mount tougher pressure on the North to force it to give up its nuclear weapons. We will be under an unimaginable danger and threat once North Korea completes nuclear weaponization. Petrochemical plants and nuclear reactors in the southern coast are concentrated near the areas around the Thaad. U.S. strategic assets also could be the target of North Korean missiles.
The South Korea-U.S. alliance must be iron-clad to fight against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat. Thaad could be the most symbolic and valuable asset of the combined forces. The government must convince residents, and protesters must not interfere. We must show our force to defend ourselves against the North Korean threat.
JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 7, Page 30