South Korea's presidential Blue House said Wednesday that the country would suspend an additional deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system until a green audit ends in the future.
An unnamed South Korean Defense Ministry official was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying Wednesday that though the massive assessment of an environmental effect would be conducted, the expected evaluation period of a year or so would be shortened significantly.
Yonhap reported that the comments indicated the completion of the evaluation by the end of this year. However, the official said the assessment would require the hearings for residents living near the THAAD installation site, which would take several months.
According to the presidential Blue House, its preliminary investigation results showed the Defense Ministry offered 328,799 square meters of the golf course to the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) in the first stage of land provision.
The total land of the golf course is about 700,000 square meters. The remaining land was scheduled to be given to the USFK in the second stage after completing the green audit.
It was aimed at avoiding the massive environmental evaluation. By domestic law, the provision of less than 330,000 square meters does not require the massive green audit, shortening the assessment period.
Q: According to the Yonhap News Agency, the ROK presidential office said that the deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system should be subject to environmental review. Do you have any comment on this?
A: We have noted the report. I shall say China's stance of opposing the THAAD deployment by the US in the ROK is clear, consistent and firm.