Opposition leader demands parliamentary approval of THAAD battery
SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's main opposition party on Wednesday urged the government to obtain parliamentary approval for the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system, saying the hasty arrival of the first shipment of the missile system earlier this week appears to be politically motivated.
Rep. Choo Mi-ae, the head of the main opposition Democratic Party, said that the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery system was widely expected in December this year, but the abrupt rescheduling is an obvious violation of sovereignty.
The United States began moving the THAAD battery system to South Korea with the first elements of the anti-missile system arriving here Monday.
Despite the protest from the opposition bloc, the South Korean government has said parliamentary approval is not necessary for the THAAD deployment as it is carried out under the existing agreement signed between the two countries.
"The ratification from the National Assembly is vital," Choo told a meeting of party leaders. "We strongly demand the government hand in the ratification bill."
The main opposition, which wants the THAAD issue to be handled by the next administration, said the government is speeding up the deployment as the presidential election is expected earlier this year.
President Park Geun-hye was impeached by the parliament in December, with the Constitutional Court widely expected to deliver its final ruling as early as this week. If Park's impeachment is approved, the presidential election should be held within 60 days by law.
"(The government) is deceiving the people about the THAAD battery," Choo said. "While there is fake news that describes (the system) as an all-powerful weapon that can protect South Korea from Pyongyang's nuke missile attacks, (the government) acknowledged the THAAD battery cannot even shield the Seoul metropolitan area."