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S. Korea expects exchange of military land for THAAD site this month
   2017-02-20 18:04:52    Xinhua      Web Editor: Ding Xiaoxiao

U.S. missile defense system THAAD [File Photo: Baidu]

South Korea's defense ministry on Monday expected the exchange of military land for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) site within this month, meaning the resumption of procedure to deploy the THAAD battery on South Korean soil by the end of this year.

Moon Sang-kyun, spokesman of Seoul's defense ministry, told a press briefing that Lotte Group is alleged to have a position to resolve the THAAD site issue from a broader perspective.

The spokesman expected a relevant contract to be signed in February, saying the board of directors meeting is forecast to be held in the near future.

Seoul and Washington agreed in July last year to install one THAAD battery in southeast South Korea by the end of this year, causing strong opposition from neighboring countries as well as parliamentary and public objections.

The U.S. missile defense system would break regional balance and damage security interests of neighboring countries including China as THAAD's X-band radar can peer deep into their territories.

Amid strong protest rallies against the THAAD deployment, South Korea's military altered the THAAD deployment site into a Lotte-owned golf course in the northern region of Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province.

In a bid to avoid parliamentary approval, the South Korean military opted to swap its land near Seoul for the golf course, rather than to purchase the Lotte-owned land. The purchase requires extra fiscal expenditure approved by lawmakers.

The country's fifth-biggest conglomerate had been cautious about the land swap deal that would bring stronger backlashes as the deal speeds up the remaining procedures of the THAAD installation.

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