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U.S. army helicopters seen over South Korean THAAD site

By
Elizabeth Shim
At least a dozen U.S. army helicopters were seen flying over the South Korea THAAD site in Seongju this week. Photo by Yonhap
At least a dozen U.S. army helicopters were seen flying over the South Korea THAAD site in Seongju this week. Photo by Yonhap

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. military helicopters have been transporting equipment to South Korea's THAAD site for two days, following a brief confrontation between local protesters and South Korea police trying to facilitate passage of U.S. military vehicles this week.

The presence of helicopters in Seongju is a sign the United States and South Korea are going ahead with the deployment of additional THAAD interceptor launchers, as announced in July, Yonhap reported Thursday.

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Seongju is the location of permanently installed THAAD launchers.

The site was once a golf course owned by Lotte, a South Korean conglomerate that may have been the target of recent Chinese embargoes.

On Thursday, one Chinook helicopter and four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters transported construction equipment and troops to the site, bypassing the protesters below, according to the report.

Earlier on Wednesday more than a dozen helicopters were seen transporting portable oil tanks.

One resident said he could "see a small dump truck and a forklift" adjacent to the THAAD site.

About 40 activists have remained near the Soseong-ri village hall, outside the former golf course.

They are "nervous" and are planning another anti-THAAD campaign ahead of the additional deployment, according to Yonhap.

The activists have also rejected results from a joint environmental survey that indicate the U.S. missile defense system would not cause any negative impact on the local environment.

Seoul's defense ministry has said the radiation from the powerful THAAD radar was well below the regulatory protection standard.

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