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PM vows to bolster countermeasures against N. Korea provocations

All News 09:52 July 19, 2016

SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Tuesday said South Korea needs to beef up its military capability against Pyongyang's provocations, highlighting the necessity to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system in the country.

"North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations are escalating every day," Hwang said during the Cabinet meeting. "Even earlier this morning, Pyongyang fired three ballistic missiles."

The missiles, presumed to be the Scud type, were launched from North Hwanghae Province and flew some 500 to 600 kilometers, the military said.

Hwang's remark also came as the public has been divided over the deployment of Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in the southern town of Seongju.

Residents blocked Hwang's car for hours and threw water bottles and eggs at him last week while he tried to explain the government's position on missile defense and alleviate health concerns expressed by locals. Local police are reviewing whether such offenses against the prime minister are chargeable.

"It is regrettable that the government made Seongju residents anxious over the deployment of the THAAD," Hwang said. "The government will outline comprehensive development plans for Seongju."

The prime minister added he will expand communications with Seongju to help residents better understand the safety of the defense system.


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