Eggs thrown at South Korean PM Hwang Kyo-ahn in missile defence system protest

Eggs thrown at South Korean PM Hwang Kyo-ahn in missile defence system protest

Eggs thrown at South Korean PM Hwang Kyo-ahn in missile defence system protest

Written by Staff Writer

15 Jul, 2016 | 5:55 pm

ANGRY residents in a rural town threw eggs and water bottles at South Korea’s Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn in protest at a plan to deploy an advanced US missile defence system in their neighbourhood.

South Korea announced earlier this week that the missile system, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), will be placed in the south-eastern farming town of Seongju to better cope with North Korean threats.

Residents say they fear possible health hazards. Hwang Kyo, accompanied by the defence minister and others, tried to explain the decision but was immediately disrupted by jeers.

Some hurled eggs and water bottles, shouting: “We oppose (the THAAD deployment) with our lives.” Hwang did not appear to be directly hit by any objects as security guards and aides used umbrellas and bags to protect him, but his suit jacket was covered by eggs.

South Korean officials have dismissed as groundless a belief that THAAD radar systems emit electromagnetic waves that can cause health problems. Defence officials say the US system is harmless if people stay at least 100 metres away from it.

Seongju residents criticised the government for unilaterally deciding on the deployment without consulting them. About 200 Seongju residents made a protest visit to Seoul’s defence ministry on Wednesday, and some wrote letters of complaint in blood. A group of 13 local leaders went on a hunger strike.

Defence minister Han Min Koo told residents on Wednesday he would personally stand in front of the radars to prove they are not harmful.

The planned missile system deployment drew an angry response from North Korea and China. North Korea has threatened unspecified “physical” measures in retaliation while China suspects the system would help US radars track its missiles. Russia also opposes the deployment. US and South Korean officials have said the THAAD system only targets North Korea, not China or anyone else.

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