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#1 Posted : Monday, December 03, 2018 11:21:08 AM(UTC)

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Location: Hefei

by Yoo Seungki

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Scores of residents living in the southeastern part of South Korea, where a U.S. missile shield is supposed to be deployed by the end of next year, came to Seoul on Saturday to voice their opposition.

Seoul and Washington agreed in July to install a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in Seongju county in North Gyeongsang province.

The site was changed later into a golf course, north of the county, and became closer to Gimcheon city.

About 50 Gimcheon residents rallied on the streets in the Gwanghwamun Square, just over a km away from the presidential Blue House where President Park's office and residence are located. They protested against the THAAD deployment, trying to make people more informed of the irrational decision.

"It was a bolt from the blue sky," said Park Byung-ju, a 62-year-old resident in Gimcheon.

"Farmers face difficulties in making a living, and apartment prices turn downward," said Park, who came here with his wife.

One THAAD battery is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, X-band radar and fire & control unit.

The radar especially troubled villagers as the radar-emitting super microwave is detrimental to farm produces and human body.

The radar, which will be placed at the golf course in the far northern Seongju county, affects apartments and key produces in the southern part of Gimcheon. The city accounts for some 40 percent of the nation's plum farming.

"Who is going to buy plum from Gimcheon? As apartment prices in Gimcheon tumbled, people are unable to move to other cities," said the resident, to whom Gimcheon is his native home.

The Gimcheon citizen said he believes that the United States pressured South Korea into deploying the anti-missile system, which he described as useless and not working. It was part of the U.S. strategy to contain China, he said.

The U.S. missile defense ambition has long been cast into doubt since its Patriot interceptors shot down little missile during the Gulf War in early 1990s. THAAD, manufactured by U.S.-based Lockheed Martin company, has yet to prove its capability to intercept missiles from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

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