The U.S. Army has completed an environmental assessment of its proposal to permanently station a THAAD missile defense unit on Guam, and plans to hold public hearings later this month to collect views from residents, officials said Friday.
The environmental analysis has found that a permanent THAAD battery "will not have a significant environmental impact on the human and natural environment, either by themselves or cumulatively with other actions," according to the report.
"After thoroughly considering the facts herein, the undersigned finds that the Proposed Action (permanent stationing) is consistent with existing environmental policies and objectives set forth in NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and its implementing regulations," it said.
The U.S. Army deployed the THAAD battery to Guam in 2013 to cope with North Korean threats.
In addition to this, the U.S. also wants to deploy a THAAD unit to South Korea, where some 28,500 American troops are stationed, to better defend against ever-growing threats from North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
But the issue has become one of the most sensitive for South Korea because China and Russia see a potential THAAD deployment as a threat to their security interests and have increased pressure on Seoul to reject such a deployment.
Seoul and Washington have maintained they have never held any formal consultations on the issue. (Yonhap)