A standard THAAD battery comes with six launchers, you would think the President’s staff would know this, even Wikipedia knows this:
A Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery launcher is being installed on a former golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province on Wednesday. /Yonhap
South Korea’s presidential office made it clear Tuesday that it has not received any formal briefing from the defense ministry on the presence of additional THAAD rocket launchers here.
The ministry said it has already briefed Cheong Wa Dae on the issue, responding to President Moon Jae-in’s call for a probe into the matter related to the allies’ missile defense system.
Moon said it’s “very shocking” that the ministry had kept secret or did not announce the introduction of four more THAAD rocket launchers, according to his spokesman Yoon Young-chan. The equipment arrived in Korea apparently weeks or months ago.
A ministry official, however, said Wee Seung-ho, deputy minister for policy, briefed Moon’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong on pending defense issues last Friday.
“At that time, he reported the entry of four additional launchers (into South Korea),” the official said on the condition of anonymity, adding it reflects the ministry’s official position.
Moon’s office refuted the ministry’s statement.
There was no report on the extra THAAD launchers waiting to be installed at a former golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, which has been chosen as the THAAD site, said Cheong Wa Dae.
One thing that seems certain is that Moon did not receive any briefing on the subject during his visit to the ministry a week after taking office. It’s not clear whether he first raised the THAAD issue.
The State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee, a de-facto transition team for Moon, also said that it was told about only two THAAD launchers in operation, not about the other four, when receiving a briefing from the ministry.
The truth behind the dispute remains unconfirmed. [Yonhap]
The Joong Ang Ilbo is reporting that the Defense Ministry may be trying avoid an environmental assessment for the four launchers:
“The president was briefed that four launchers, in addition to the two already installed in Seongju, were clandestinely brought in and stored in Korea,” Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary for public relations, said Tuesday. “Today, Moon ordered his senior secretary for civil affairs and chief of the national security office to conduct a thorough investigation over how the four additional launchers were brought in.” (…….)
“Moon asked his aides to investigate why the four additional launchers were brought in, who made the decision, why it was not made public and why the new administration was not told about it,” Yoon said. “He also ordered that the investigation must look into the suspicion that the four launchers were kept secret in order to avoid an environmental impact assessment.” [Joong Ang Ilbo]
If an environmental assessment was done for two launchers, what difference would four more make? They have to tear up a few more putting greens to put them in? It is not like an old growth rain forest needs to be cut down to put the launchers in.
You can read more at the link, but I would not be surprised if this is a political show to demonstrate to Moon’s supporters that the new administration is going to get tough on the Defense Ministry in regards to the THAAD deployment without actually changing the decision.
I guess we will see what happens.