SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday the ongoing deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system here should be suspended at least for now, pending a full-blown environmental impact assessment.
"We are not saying the two launchers and other equipment that have already been deployed should be withdrawn. But those that have yet to be deployed will have to wait," a senior Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters.
The remarks followed Cheong Wa Dae's probe over an allegation that the defense ministry may have tried to keep the deployment under a blanket.
The probe concluded a ministry official did in fact keep secret the delivery of four more THAAD launchers to the country, while the defense ministry also sought to make the whole program appear less in size and scale as an apparent attempt to insulate it from an all-out environmental impact evaluation.
Following the conclusion of its probe, the presidential office ordered the defense ministry to conduct a full environmental impact assessment.
Wednesday's remarks from the Cheong Wa Dae official came to confirm the deployment is in fact subject to a full evaluation following media reports that it may not be.
The law subjects any new military facility or equipment affecting an area greater than 330,000 square meters to such an evaluation that could take weeks, if not months.
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