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China blasts South Korea's completion of THAAD deployment

By Elizabeth Shim
China blasts South Korea's completion of THAAD deployment
A set of four rocket launchers for the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system arrives in Seongju, some 300 kilometers south of Seoul, on Thursday. Photo by Yonhap

Sept. 7 (UPI) -- All planned deployment of the U.S. missile defense system THAAD to South Korea is complete, 14 months after the United States and South Korea publicly announced the decision in July 2016.

The deployment of four additional launchers to Seongju, central South Korea, prompted Chinese state media to issue a strong condemnation that likened THAAD to a "malignant tumor" that was as provocative as "North Korea's nuclear weapons."

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South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo said Thursday the four launchers were all delivered to the designated site, 40 days after Seoul had agreed to place more missile defense in the area following North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile provocation on July 29.

The launchers join equipment already in place in Seongju: two launchers, an X-band radar, an engagement control station and a power generator, South Korean news service EDaily reported.

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The deployment was met with opposition from civic groups, and activists initially scuffled with police after midnight on Thursday, when the new equipment was brought in.

THAAD also became a topic of controversy after U.S. President Donald Trump said Seoul should pay as much as $1 billion to place THAAD on South Korean soil.

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THAAD would intercept missiles aimed for the southern half of the peninsula and projectiles targeting the United States.

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China's Global Times launched an attack on South Korea for the decision, and called in South Korea's ambassador to Beijing to issue a warning, the Segye Ilbo reported.

The Global Times claimed South Korea has "lost its last remaining independence" and that the country was in a precarious position amid a nuclear crisis.

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