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S.Korean frontrunner in presidential poll argues for delay of THAAD deployment

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 08:48, December 16, 2016

South Korea's frontrunner in presidential polls on Thursday made out his case that the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in his country must be delayed to allow the next government to review it.

Moon Jae-in, former head of the main opposition Minjoo Party, told foreign correspondents in Seoul that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) installation issue must be postponed to let next administration to reconsider it.

The frontrunner in recent presidential surveys said the THAAD deployment is a matter having gains and losses from the perspective of national security of South Korea.

The Park Geun-hye administration, Moon said, failed to go through the process of finding a public consensus in the U.S. anti-missile battery installation, while refraining from making diplomatic efforts on China and Russia.

Seoul and Washington abruptly announced their agreement in July to deploy one THAAD battery in southeast South Korea by the end of next year. Commander of U.S. forces stationed in South Korea indicated the installation within the second half of 2017.

China and Russia have expressed strong oppositions to the U.S. missile defense battery that can peer into territories of the two countries.

South Korea, which had maintained a position of so-called "three Nos" meaning no proposal, no negotiation and no decision, declared the deployment as a bolt from the blue.

Moon, the runner-up to President Park in the 2012 election, said it is not appropriate to continue to push the THAAD installation in current situations that the president is impeached and the prime minister serves as acting president.

President Park was impeached last Friday by 234 to 56 in the 300-seat National Assembly, suspending her from office immediately. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn assumed temporary presidential power until the constitutional court rules on it up to 180 days.

"It is desirable for next administration to make a rational decision (on THAAD deployment) after sufficient efforts to find public consensus and diplomatic efforts (on neighboring countries)," said Moon.

Moon has maintained first place in presidential polls for the seventh consecutive week at 24.0 percent, up 0.9 percentage points from the previous week.



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