SEOUL– A Seoul court on Tuesday dismissed local residents’ request to temporarily invalidate the government’s offering of land to host a U.S. missile defense system.

In April, 396 people filed an administrative suit against the provision of a former golf course in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang Province, to U.S. Forces Korea, claiming that it is a violation of the law on state-owned land. They also asked the court to suspend the land provision pending the trial.

The Seoul Administrative Court turned down their request for suspension. The court said the ownership of the land for the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) belongs to the state and that it is a public asset to be used for military purposes, not by the public.

Seoul and Washington agreed in July 2016 to deploy the advanced missile defense system here as a deterrence against North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats.

The residents and activists have fiercely opposed the deployment, citing environmental concerns. Two THAAD launchers and a powerful X-band radar have been installed at the site and are operational.

On Monday, the Ministry of Environment conditionally agreed to the deployment of additional launchers after reviewing the defense ministry’s environmental impact survey which concluded the potential damage to the environment is limited.


Source: Yonhap News Agency