On July 29, following North Korea’s latest ICBM test, South Korea’s Moon Jae-in administration called on the U.S. to discuss plans to transfer the remaining parts of the THAAD anti-missile system to Seongju, South Korea to complete the deployment. So far, the THAAD radar and two out of the six launchers that make up the THAAD battery have made their way into the deployment site in Seongju.
This announcement came only 15 hours after his administration had committed to conducting a proper environmental impact assessment (which would have taken at least one year) before deciding to complete the THAAD deployment. Now, however, it appears the Moon administration has unilaterally decided on finalizing the THAAD deployment without a democratic process.
The residents of Seongju and Gimcheon were shocked at this announcement. They had not expected Moon to continue the same policy as the previous — now-impeached — President Park Geun-hye. “[The Moon administration] is the same as the Park administration, which unilaterally decided to deploy the THAAD in Seongju,” they said at a recent press conference. The residents of Seongju and Gimcheon had previously demanded the Moon administration reverse the THAAD deployment, but this was the first time they explicitly condemned the new president.
Peace activists in South Korea as well as missile defense experts have pointed out that the THAAD system has nothing to do with North Korea’s ICBM. “From the beginning, the THAAD was incapable of intercepting the ICBMs of North Korea,” according to a statement released by Solidarity for Peace And Reunification in Korea (SPARK). North Korea’s ICBM, they note, is intended to pressure the U.S. to stop its military provocations and not targeted at South Korea. Therefore, they say, Moon’s about-face on the THAAD deployment is incomprehensible. Moon went from encouraging hope for peaceful cooperation and relations with North Korea to a complete reversal toward mounting more distrust and tension on the Korean Peninsula.
On July 31, residents of Seongju and Gimcheon traveled to Seoul to hold an emergency press conference near the Blue House. They sought to express their disappointment with the Moon administration’s latest decision but were blocked by the police. Dozens of riot cops demonstrated lack of restraint and used excessive force to intimidate the protesters — just as they had during the previous Park Geun-hye administration.
(Video — NoCutV)
Translation for Video:
0:04 – 0:11 “We are not here to cause any problems, so why are you blocking the road like this? Please get out of the way and open the road for us.”
0:12 – 0:15 “There is no reason for us to fight you all right now.”
0:20 – 0:28 The police and the Seongju-Gimcheon Stop THAAD Struggle Committees collide.
0:34 – 0:42 “We came here to hold a press conference, but you sent the police to block the road? Is this a democratic government?”
0:52 – 0:55 “They are the same people. We were lied to.”
0:56 – 1:04 “Reverse the THAAD deployment! Illegal THAAD — absolutely invalid!”
1:04 – 1:31 “Dear Candlelight President, we believed you when you said you will ‘create a country that deserves respect.’ To make you president, many people gathered in Gwanghwamun Plaza. We earnestly ask you this once again — make South Korea a proud country that deserves respect.”
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