A year after being chosen to host THAAD, protests in Seongju in South Korea show little sign of ending. Seongju residents say the deployment of THAAD has been destructive to their community, pitting neighbors and family members against one another. In addition to stoking political tensions between Seoul, Beijing, Moscow, and Washington, the people of Seongju say they are paying the price for what they see as the undemocratic and unnecessary further militarization of a peninsula that was divided and fought over by outside nations.
THAAD’s manufacturer, Lockheed-Martin, describes the system as capable of defending “U.S. troops, allied forces, population centers, and critical infrastructure,” but declined to comment for this article. Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross said THAAD “adds an important capability in a layered an effective missile defense against North Korean missile threats… capable of defending a larger area of South Korea… compared to other capabilities.”