South Korea president supports THAAD but calls for other ideas

SEOUL, July 21 (UPI) — South Korean President Park Geun-hye suggested to Seoul’s national security council she’s open to defense proposals “other than THAAD” as critics continue to denounce the decision to deploy the U.S. anti-missile defense system.

“There are still voices in some political circles that call for THAAD cancellation while attack threats from the North continue to grow,” Park said Thursday. “If there are other alternatives to protecting the public from North Korean missile attacks, I request you make suggestions.”

Park said Seoul decided to place THAAD in the South to protect the country, and that if “social chaos” continues in the form of “anti-government struggles” that “encourage a South-South conflict,” that is “exactly what North Korea wants,” local newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported.

Park also said that she is the recipient of “countless accusations” but if the president’s resolve is “shaken” at this time “the country can become unstable.”

The South Korean president reminded the officials the North recently test-fired three ballistic missiles and that Pyongyang hasn’t been shy about engaging in provocations.

The missiles, fired early Tuesday, were target practice for potential strikes against South Korean ports and airfields, according to a North Korean television announcement that aired Wednesday.

North Korea had not launched a short-range Scud missile since March, and the provocation is believed to be a reaction to a July 8 decision to deploy THAAD.

South Korean opponents to THAAD have been concerned about harmful radiation emitted from electromagnetic radar waves as well as the system’s noise level.

Distrust between the residents of Seongju, where THAAD is to be deployed in 2017, and the government, still looms large.

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