July 13, 2016 11:01
The U.S. is trying to quell concerns over the stationing of Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense batteries here by allowing the Korean media a peek at a THAAD battery in Guam.
A military source said Tuesday the main aim is to ease concerns here over potentially harmful electromagnetic radiation from THAAD bases.
"The aim is to give the public a chance to see a realistic use of a THAAD battery after the issue turned from a military matter into a political controversy."
Guam is so far the only place outside the continental U.S. where a THAAD battery has been deployed. The U.S. military operates five THAAD batteries, the other four at a military base in Texas.
The battery in Guam is equipped with an AN/TPY-2 radar with a range of 600 km, but there is another mode using the same hardware that has a reach of some 1,800 km, and this is what China and Russia are worried about.
Around 195 soldiers man the THAAD battery in Guam including operators, technicians and security. The THAAD unit in Korea will have a similar structure.
The U.S. military initially balked at the idea of allowing media access but changed its mind after some persuasion from Korean officials.
"The U.S. maintains strict security over its military installations, and the decision to allow media access reflects how urgently it wants to resolve controversy over the anti-missile system," a military source here said.
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