The Ministry of National Defense announced on the 20th that it would guarantee ground access to the USFK base at all times at the THAAD (High Altitude Area Defense System) base in Seongju-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do.
The Ministry of National Defense announced on the same day that “in relation to the normalization of the THAAD base, we plan to review and promote environmental impact assessment, guarantee of permanent ground access, and site grant in accordance with relevant laws and procedures.”
The Ministry of National Defense also explained, “We will pursue the normalization of the THAAD base in close consultation with relevant ministries and the US.”
The THAAD base in Seongju was deployed in April 2017 and is still in a temporary deployment state.
The Park Geun-hye administration planned to formally deploy it through a small-scale environmental impact assessment that took about six months, but the Moon Jae-in government selected it as a general environmental impact assessment target. A general environmental impact assessment may take more than a year.
So far, Seongju residents and civic groups have blocked the entry of materials into the THAAD base. Then, since May of last year, the Ministry of National Defense and USFK have been bringing materials and supplies to the base for the improvement of the soldiers’ quarters two to three times a week. USFK is complaining that it should be accessible at all times.
During the presidential election, President Yoon Seok-yeol promised to complete an environmental impact assessment on the Seongju base and to normalize the base. In a written response to the personnel hearing, the new Defense Minister Lee Jong-seop promised to guarantee the conditions for carrying out the mission at the THAAD base in Seongju.
There is a possibility that the THAAD base issue will be discussed at the South Korea-US summit scheduled to be held on the 21st.