South Korean President Moon Jae-in has ordered to suspend any further deployment of US THAAD missile defence system until an environmental impact assessment is finished.
There is “no need to withdraw” the two launchers that have already been deployed, a senior official at the South’s presidential office told reporters Wednesday.
However, “additional deployment (of THAAD) should be carried out only after the environmental impact assessment is over,” the official said, adding that the deployment process is not urgent enough to bypass the whole environmental impact assessment.
The deployment freeze comes two days after Moon ordered a “proper” probe into the potential environmental impact of the missile batteries in a bid to win greater public support for the project.
The defense ministry came under fire this week after the President ordered a probe into ‘negligence’ in informing his office on an additional deployment of the missile system.
According to Moon’s office, top military brass who briefed Moon’s national security adviser last month deliberately withheld information about the arrival of the four new launchers. A senior defense ministry official was removed from his position over the incident.