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Presidential office keeping close tabs on public opinion over THAAD

All News 17:37 July 17, 2016

SEOUL, July 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Sunday that it is keeping close tabs on public opinion in regards to the deployment of an advanced anti-ballistic shield in the country.

Residents of Seongju, 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul, staged protests rejecting the government's decision last week to host the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in their town.

Protesters even prevented Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn from leaving the county for over six hours after he tried unsuccessfully to alleviate concerns people may have about THAAD's health risks.

"It is our understanding that people are opposed to the missile system because they think it possesses health risks," a presidential aide said. He stressed that every effort will be made to alleviate unfounded concerns.

Another official at Cheong Wa Dae pointed out that people in Seongju seem to have been misinformed about the THAAD and its AN/TPY-2 radar.

"The goal of the government is to correct such misconceptions and provide the truth so any fears people may have can be laid to rest," he stressed.

He said that the president's office will continue to seek the understanding of the people to win support on the THAAD issue, which Seoul says is critical for the country's defense.

The interceptors with a range of 200 km cannot cover Seoul, but they can be used to protect key South Korea and U.S. military bases as well as logistic centers critical for the country's defense.

Reflecting this, the prime minister and the country's defense chief plans to use the parliamentary question on policy session planned for this week, to lay to rest unfounded fears and deal with any misgivings people may have.

In regards to the deployment in the country, a local poll released Friday showed around half of all South Koreans support it.

According to a survey conducted by local pollster Gallup Korea last week, 50 percent of the 1,004 respondents were in favor of the deployment of THAAD. The portion of dissenters stood at 32 percent.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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