Noam Chomsky signs petition opposing U.S. THAAD deployment in South Korea

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (UPI) — MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, a vocal opponent of the 2003 Iraq War, is weighing in on the joint decision to deploy a U.S. missile defense system on the Korean peninsula.

Chomsky, 87, recently signed a petition requesting the cancellation of THAAD deployment, South Korean newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun reported Thursday.

In the statement available online, signed by dozens of individuals and progressive organizations, U.S.-based activists of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific said there is no evidence THAAD could effectively defend South Korean targets from North Korea attack.

“[The] U.S. Congressional Research Service finds that THAAD is unlikely to shield South Korea since it is designed to counter high-altitude missiles, not those that North Korea would likely use against South Korean targets,” the statement read.

A 1999 report to Congress stated a combination of anti-missile defense systems would be needed to deter an attack, and that the THAAD system would not provide comprehensive cover for parts of South Korea, including Seoul, the capital.

The activists stated “U.S. THAAD deployment in South Korea is part of the U.S. ‘pivot’ to the Asia Pacific,” that “it expands the already significant network of U.S. ‘missile defense’ systems encircling China and Russia,” and the “expansion of this network appears to reflect a broader U.S. decision to change its military posture from one of deterrence to that of first strike.”

The task force added the strategy raises regional tensions, “undermines the national sovereignty and democratic aspirations of people in other countries, in this instance those in South Korea,” and said the cost of THAAD “estimated at $1.3 billion,” would be “borne by South Korean and U.S. taxpayers.”

South Korea’s political opposition is calling for a reappraisal of the decision to deploy THAAD on a golf course about 180 miles from Seoul and South Korean activists have petitioned the White House for a reversal of the decision.

The White House turned down the petition this week, citing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile threats.

Chomsky has previously criticized President George W. Bush for not taking steps toward more peaceful relations with North Korea during his term in office.

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