South Korea announced Tuesday it would test the electromagnetic waves coming from the powerful radar used in the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system again. The move comes amid concerns that there could be serious health issues associated with the equipment.
A similar test of the electromagnetic waves generated from the X-band radar system was conducted last Monday at the U.S. military base in Guam. The test concluded that the radar waves posed no health risks to the local population living near the military facility. However, the 45,000 residents of Seongju, about 184 miles southeast of Seoul — the county where the U.S. missile defense system is scheduled to be installed — rejected the test results, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
“In the upcoming evaluation on the THAAD battery's environmental impact, we will conduct the same test again to ensure that the anti-missile system does not pose any major health risks to Seongju residents in a reasonable and subjective manner,” Moon Sang-gyun, a South Korean defense ministry spokesman, reportedly said in a statement.
Earlier this month, South Korea’s Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, along with Defense Minister Han Min-koo, visited Seongju to convince local residents to accept the deployment of the THAAD system in the region. The attempt, however, failed with locals reportedly throwing eggs and water bottles at the officials.
The decision to install the advanced U.S. anti-missile system to counter potential North Korean threats has been criticized by countries like Russia and China, with the latter saying that the move would harm “the foundation of mutual trust” between Seoul and Beijing.
Meanwhile, the U.S. told China on Tuesday that the THAAD system doesn’t threaten China's security.
“It is purely a defensive measure. It is not aimed at any other party other than North Korea and the threat it poses and this defensive weapons system is neither designed nor capable of threatening China's security interests,” Reuters quoted a U.S. official as saying.