S Korean president orders additional probe into unreported THAAD launchers deployment

Updated 2017-06-05 17:02:06 Xinhua

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday ordered an additional probe into the unreported deployment of four more mobile launchers of the U.S. missile shield to the country.

Senior presidential press secretary Yoon Young-chan told a press briefing that President Moon ordered his senior secretary for civil affairs to look further into any suspicions over the installation of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area (THAAD) missile interception system.

Moon ordered an investigation into the "intentional" omission of report to the new leader about the deployment of four THAAD mobile launchers to an unidentified U.S. military base in South Korea.

During the regular meeting earlier in the day between Moon and his senior secretaries, Moon was briefed by the civil affairs secretary on the investigation findings.

The findings showed Wi Seung-ho, chief of the defense ministry's national defense policy office, ordered officials to omit the deployment of four more THAAD launchers from a document to the presidential Blue House.

Wi will be excluded from relevant defense affairs, while other relevant defense ministry officials will be subject to further investigations, according to the Blue House.

President Moon also ordered a separate probe into the defense ministry suspected of avoiding the environmental assessment on the U.S. missile defense system at a golf course in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province.

Seoul and Washington decided in July last year to deploy one THAAD battery in southeast South Korea. The site was altered in September into the golf course at a small village where less than 200 farmers, mostly in their 70s and older, live a peaceful life.

About two weeks before the presidential by-election on May 9, two mobile launchers, the radar and other heavy equipments were transported in the middle of night to the golf course.

The hurried installation boosted speculation that it aimed to politicize security issues during the sensitive election campaign period. Security issues tended to benefit conservative candidates in the past.

The installation of four more mobile launchers had never been made public "on purpose" and reported to Moon, who also serves as top military commander.

One THAAD battery is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, the AN/TPY-2 radar and the fire and control unit.

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