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Lee says his opposition to THAAD remains unchanged

All News 14:04 December 16, 2021

SEOUL, Dec. 16 (Yonhap) -- Ruling Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung has said he is opposed to the deployment of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea but looks to work within the reality that a unit has been placed.

Lee stated his position in a letter sent Wednesday to a high school student who threw eggs at him on the campaign trail in Seongju, 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul, earlier this week.

The student accused Lee of failing to keep his promise to remove THAAD from Seongju, which has hosted the U.S. anti-missile system since 2017. The eggs did not hit the candidate.

"First of all, I am sorry about the situation that left you no choice but to throw eggs," Lee wrote in the letter released by his campaign.

"There is no change in my position that the THAAD deployment is completely out of line with our national interest. However, I am a politician who looks for ways to maximize our national interest based on the given reality and situation," he said.

Seongju residents have long opposed THAAD and clashed with the police every time the government has brought construction and other items onto the base.

Lee said he believed it was his job to look for solutions within the reality that THAAD has been deployed, rather than sticking to his positions.

If the student found that to be a reversal of his promise, Lee said he would take the blame for failing to properly seek the public's understanding.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) is designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles at a high altitude in their terminal phase.

The system's deployment has unnerved China, which responded in 2016 with an economic retaliation campaign.

Lee stated his opposition to THAAD during his previous presidential campaign in 2017.

Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung (Pool photo) (Yonhap)


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