Transition team calls for ‘factual truth’ after report on limited THAAD use

SEOUL-- The transition team of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol called on the government Monday to reveal the "factual truth" after a news report claimed China has demanded South Korea limit use of the U.S. THAAD antimissile battery.

The report, carried by the Munhwa Ilbo newspaper Monday, alleged China has made the demand since 2017, when the Moon Jae-in government accepted the so-called "3 No's policy" of no additional THAAD deployments, no participation in a U.S.-led missile defense program and no formation of a trilateral military alliance with the U.S. and Japan.

In addition to the "3 No's," China demanded South Korea limit its use of the existing THAAD unit in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, but the Moon government kept it a secret and effectively complied by stalling on making it fully operational, the paper claimed.

"If what is contained in the article is true, we are aware that this would be a serious issue that violates our military sovereignty," Won Il-hee, the transition team's senior deputy spokesperson, said during a press briefing.

"As the people who produced this principle (of 3 No's and one restriction) must exist, we believe it is their duty to give a detailed explanation of the factual truth to the people," he said.

The transition team has not decided how it will address the issue, including whether it will request relevant material from the foreign or defense ministries, he said.

Beijing has long opposed THAAD deployments in South Korea, claiming the system could be used to hurt its security interests.

During the campaign, Yoon pledged to deploy additional THAAD units in the country.

Source: Yonhap News Agency