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Half of S. Koreans support THAAD deployment: poll

2016/07/15 11:49

SEOUL, July 17 (Yonhap) -- Around half of South Koreans support the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in the country, a poll showed Friday.

According to a survey conducted by local pollster Gallup Korea this week, 50 percent of the 1,004 respondents were in favor of the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). The portion of dissenters stood at 32 percent.

Among the supporters of the ruling Saenuri Party, 74 percent of the respondents approved the deployment.

In contrast, 50 percent of the followers of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea expressed discontent against the move. The main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea currently remains neutral about the plan, although some of its lawmakers voiced their anger.

Supporters of the THAAD deployment mostly claimed that it will add to national security and safety, while the opposition said the missile shield may be effective but it could adversely impact Seoul's relationship with China and Russia.

Nearly half of respondents said they are willing to host the THAAD system in their neighborhood, while 39 percent said they would oppose the move.

The government said earlier that the THAAD system will be stationed in Seongju, located 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

President Park Geun-hye's approval rating came to 32 percent this week, up 1 percentage point from a week earlier. The ratio of dissenters also moved up 2 percentage points over the cited period to 54 percent.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stood as the most-favored presidential candidate for next year's race at 27 percent, trailed by Moon Jae-in, a former head of the main opposition Minjoo Party.

colin@yna.co.kr

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