S.Korea grants “conditional” approval to THAAD environmental assessment

South Korea’s Ministry of Environment decided to grant a “conditional” approval to a green audit on the site of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), which could launch construction works at the site and even attempt to deploy four more launchers, local media said Monday.

According to the local media, the Ministry has decided to give a conditional green light to the small-scale assessment of environmental impact on the THAAD deployment site.

What was the condition has not been known yet. The official announcement would be made on Monday afternoon, local media reported.

An unnamed official of the ministry was quoted as saying it reached that conclusion in a bid to allow residents to continue to monitor a possible environmental impact on the THAAD site along with experts, though no specific environmental damages were found in the study.

The small-scale green audit was launched since late last year. On April 26, two mobile launchers and other THAAD elements were transported in the middle of night to the former golf course in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province, though the audit did not end.

Residents and green activists, who have blocked the entrance to the golf course, demanded a strategic green audit, which requires the withdrawal of the already deployed THAAD elements and evaluates whether to deploy the U.S. missile shield from the very beginning.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered a general environmental impact assessment, under which the already deployed THAAD elements would stay in the site and the final decision would be made after the assessment ends.

Moon also ordered the installation of four more THAAD launchers following the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s test in July of what it called an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), reports AFP.