A US military trailer carrying elements of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defecse system enters a golf course in Seongju, South Korea.
A US military trailer carrying elements of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defecse system enters a golf course in Seongju, South Korea. YONHAP

Protest at anti-missile system

HUNDREDS of protesting residents were on hand yesterday when parts of America's controversial THAAD anti-missile defence system were moved to a deployment site in South Korea.

Amid high tensions over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, the move came ahead of schedule and was also denounced by the leading candidate in next month's South Korean presidential election.

A spokesman for Moon Jae-in said the decision "ignored public opinion and due process” and was "strongly regrettable” as it stripped the next government of the right to make the policy decision on the missile defence system.

Blocked by scores of police, local protesters hurled water bottles at the arriving vehicles. More than 10 protesters were injured and some of them had bone fractures, the co-head of a group of villagers protesting the THAAD deployment told Reuters.

The US and South Korea agreed last year to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system following a series of missile launches by North Korea.

China has slammed the decision, saying it will destabilising the regional security balance.

South Korea's defence ministry said some elements of THAAD had been sent to the site on a former golf course in the south of the country.

"South Korea and the US have been working to secure an early operational capability of the THAAD system in response to North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threat,” it said in a statement.



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