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Park renews criticism of THAAD opponents

All Headlines 10:21 October 13, 2016

By Song Sang-ho

SUWON, South Korea, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Thursday renewed her criticism of those against the plan to deploy a U.S. anti-missile system on the Korean Peninsula, stressing the country faces a "great" security crisis due to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

In her video message to the National Disabled Veterans Sports Festival, the commander-in-chief also highlighted that Pyongyang's military programs are posing a "tangible" threat that could drive all Koreans "into extinction."

"Some in our society are opposing the deployment of even the THAAD, which is a minimal defense system to safeguard the lives of citizens, without proposing any alternatives," Park said, referring to the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, a core element of the U.S.' global missile defense program.

"What is more crucial than anything to address the North Korean nuclear crisis and keep peace in Korea is national unity," she added.

Such remarks came four days after Rep. Moon Jae-in, a former leader of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea and presidential aspirant, called on the government to temporarily suspend ongoing procedures to deploy THAAD, demanding diplomatic efforts should be pushed forward to denuclearize the North.

Seoul and Washington are moving to station a THAAD battery in a golf course in the southern county of Seongju, about 290 kilometers southeast of Seoul, by end-2017, to better counter Pyongyang's evolving nuclear and missile threats.

Objections to the deployment plan have persisted as residents in Seongju and its vicinity are concerned about rumors that THAAD's powerful radar could pose health risks and damage their agricultural crops.

Beijing and Moscow have also called for a cancellation of the plan, believing THAAD would undermine their security interests.

This photo, taken on Oct. 11, 2016, shows President Park Geun-hye speaking during a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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