Two protesters injured in clash at THAAD site
SEOUL - Two protesters were injured by police on Thursday when they tried in vain to block construction equipment from entering the deployment site for the United States Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system in the southeast of the Republic of Korea.
Two payloaders, which were driven by soldiers of the US Forces Korea, attempted to enter the golf course on Thursday morning, according to an association composed of residents and activists trying to prevent the deployment of the missile shield.
The golf course is located in the northern part of Seongju county, South Gyeongsang province, where Seoul and Washington agreed in July to deploy one THAAD battery.
Tens of residents and peace activists blocked the site for about 30 minutes, but they were dispersed by hundreds of police officers, allowing the payloaders to be driven inside the golf course.
During the tussle, two residents were wounded and taken to a nearby hospital.
Residents in the Soseongri village, Seongju, are mostly in their 70s and 80s. The village has a population of just 160.
At noon, police officers attempted to remove the protesters to help other equipment enter the site, but the attempt was unsuccessful.
In the second tussle, two residents were hauled in by police.
Last week, the ROK military transported heavy equipment by helicopter to the site as residents formed a barrier at the entrance road to the golf course.
Seoul on Thursday completed a deal to provide USFK with the site. Around 300,000 square meters of land out of the 1.48 million square meters of the golf course was offered to the USFK to operate the missile shield, Newsis news agency reported, citing the defense ministry.
The hurried push for the THAAD installation has been under fire as it failed to follow appropriate procedures such as a parliamentary approval and public discussions.
According to a poll on Tuesday, 56.5 percent of ROK citizens demanded next president's decision on the deployment. It was based on a survey of 1,003 voters conducted last week.
The result was jointly released by a local pollster URI Research & Consulting and the People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, a local civic group.
Two mobile launchers and part of THAAD elements were delivered to a US military base early last month. Seoul has recently said it would be physically impossible to complete the THAAD deployment before the end of presidential election scheduled for May 9.
(China Daily 04/21/2017 page11)