NATIONAL

Democratic Party hopefuls divided over THAAD

By Jo He-rim
  • Published : Mar 19, 2017 - 18:20
  • Updated : Mar 19, 2017 - 18:20
Presidential hopefuls of the Democratic Party of Korea are divided over what to do with a US-led missile defense system, showed a TV debate Sunday.

A leading contender, Moon Jae-in, said the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in the country should be put on hold and be passed on to the next administration.

Liberty Korea Party’s presidential hopefuls (Yonhap)

“South Korea can use the THAAD system as diplomatic leverage. Any decision over the matter should be further made by the next administration,” Moon said. “If the current government pushes to finalize the deployment process now, it would be the same as giving away a diplomatic key.”

Runner-up candidate and South Chungcheong Gov. An Hee-jung said he respects the deal, stressing that national security here is largely built upon the Korea-US alliance. He then vowed to work further to establish a close relationship with China while keeping the US alliance.

Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung, on the other hand, strongly opposed the deployment of the defense system and condemned his two rivals for being “irresponsible.”

“The problem here is that the THAAD system does not really help our national security. It would only raise diplomatic tension on the peninsula,” Lee said.

The US-led missile defense system was first introduced by impeached President Park Geun-hye and parts of the system arrived here on March 7.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)