S Korean residents feel growing anxiety over rifle drills at THAAD site

Updated 2017-06-12 16:33:42 Xinhua

South Korean residents living near a site for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system said Monday that they had a growing anxiety over rifle drills inside the site.

According to a statement released by the anti-THAAD civilian groups including the residents, about 10 shots of rifles rang out last Thursday from the THAAD site, or a golf course at Soseong-ri village in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province.

The shots were reportedly the rifle drills, which were conducted by South Korean soldiers inside the golf course. It was aimed to exercise the dispersal of possible drones and birds by firing into the air.

The statement said the South Korean military did not inform the villagers of the rifle drills in advance, bringing anxiety on the residents.

The U.S. and South Korean militaries have been transporting oil, personnel and various equipments to the THAAD site through helicopters tens of times per day, making the residents anxious and stressful, said the statement.

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

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

Four more mobile launchers were delivered to an unknown U.S. military base in South Korea, but the delivery was not reported to President Moon Jae-in who took office on May 10.

Moon ordered an additional investigation into the unreported delivery, directing officials to thoroughly conduct a green audit to figure out what environmental impact the THAAD deployment would have on people and nature.

The preliminary probe into the unreported delivery was carried out by the presidential Blue House earlier this month.

The Moon government formed a task force on the THAAD matters, while the new vice defense minister allegedly planned to visit Seongju as early as this week to listen to the grievances and opposition from the residents.

The statement urged the government to immediately stop any activity relevant to the THAAD deployment, saying the already installed THAAD elements must be removed.

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