Nimbys in THAAD Spat Must Honor National Interest

      October 04, 2016 13:04

      A golf course owned by Lotte Group in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province has been chosen as the location for a missile defense battery from the U.S., but locals are having none of it.

      Buddhists are also up in arms, claiming that the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery will be too close to a holy shrine.

      Residents in the new dormitory town of Gimcheon nearby are suspicious because the government scrapped its original plan to place the anti-missile battery in Seongju, even though it said the system's radar does not emit harmful waves. Then why, they wonder, did it cave in to protests there? 

      THAAD is a purely defensive weapons system. It is understandable for critics to worry about souring ties with China and Russia over the decision to deploy the battery here. But for residents to protest merely because of false health rumors is an embarrassment.

      The golf course is more than 8 km from any residential areas, and electromagnetic radiation even 1.5 km away from the THAAD battery is just 0.007 percent of the level authorized by the World Health Organization, much the same as the radiation emitted by a banana.

      Moreover, the golf course sits 680 m above sea level and the THAAD radar points upward from that altitude, so there is no chance of the rays somehow sneaking downhill. Of course the real reason for local protests is the potential drop in real estate value, but once the rumors about radiation have been scotched, land prices will recover.

      South Korea is exposed to North Korean nuclear and missile attacks. If the THAAD battery helps avert them, any number should be stationed in the country. It simply cannot afford to remain exposed based on crackpot theories.

      The people of this country must make sure that their national security is no longer compromised by unfounded rumors and protests. The controversy only benefits Kim Jong-un and his henchmen.

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