Peace in the Korean Peninsula, but War in Soseongri

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(Hwang Jeong-eun, ISC General Secretary)

With the South-North Korea summit in April and the upcoming North and US summit in June, the winds of peace are blowing over the Korean peninsula. There is even talk of  “complete denuclearization” and “ending the war by the end of this year”. However, in Soseongri, a southern city in Seongju where the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) was deployed in 2017, the mood is completely different. The Moon Administration decided to resume construction of Thaad, repressing villagers opposed to its deployment in order to bring in construction trucks and other supplies.

In April and September in 2017, the U.S military in Korea deployed a Thaad battery: six truck-mounted anti-ballistic launchers and a radar system. On Apr. 23, 2018, 3,000 riot police dispersed 200 people (villagers and members of Anti-Thaad organizations) to bring in 14 construction trucks and 20 construction equipment. In the process, 10 people were injured and hospitalized.

Currently, the government is using the construction equipment to improve the power supplies and accommodation for U.S. and South Korean troops inside of the base. The construction was halted after negotiations between Ministry of National Defense and Anti-Thaad organization broke down on April 16 to 19.

Those in the Anti-Thaad organization state that Thaad’s was deployment to defend against North Korea’s nuclear or missile attack are no longer legitimate given the current path towards peace. Thus, they are demanding reconsideration of Thaad’s deployment and its withdrawal.