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Hwang, opposition lawmakers clash over THAAD

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Published : 2017-03-20 15:45
Updated : 2017-03-20 15:45

Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday clashed with some members of the Democratic Party over an advanced US missile defense system being rolled out in South Korea.

During his meeting with the members of the largest party in South Korea's special panel on the security issue, Hwang highlighted the urgency of installing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system here to counter North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats.

Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn (C) speaks with some members of the largest Democratic Party at his office in Seoul on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

The lawmakers, however, reiterated that the deployment requires parliamentary consent. They were Reps. Shim Jae-kwon, Sul Hoon, Kim Young-ho, Shin Dong-kuen, Kim Hyun-kwon and So Byung-hoon.

"The domestic situation is serious due to the installation of THAAD, and the damage facing citizens has been increasing," the lawmakers claimed, referring to a recent series of retaliatory steps China has taken against South Korean businesses.

China has opposed the deployment, arguing that THAAD's powerful radar could be used to monitor its military activities and ultimately tip the regional security balance more in favor of the United States.

Hwang, in response, said that THAAD is necessary due to Pyongyang's relentless pursuit of nuclear arms and longer-range ballistic missiles, and that the introduction of new US military assets does not necessitate parliamentary approval.

The US military began deploying THAAD components to Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, on March 6, when the North fired four ballistic missiles toward the East Sea.

Observers expect the deployment to be completed as early as next month. (Yonhap)