|The U.S. military started installing a controversial antimissile defense system in South Korea overnight Tuesday, triggering protests and sparking criticism that it was rushing to get the battery in place before the likely election of a president who opposes it.
The sudden and unannounced move came only six days after the U.S. military command in South Korea secured the land to deploy the system, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD.|
Moon Jae-in, a liberal candidate who has a strong lead in polls ahead of a May 9 presidential election, has promised to review South Korea’s decision to host the antimissile battery.
|China has attempted to pressure the government in Seoul not to deploy THAAD. It is concerned that the system’s powerful radar could be used to keep tabs on China, and it has imposed painful economic boycotts on South Korean companies in response.|
Each THAAD battery includes at least six truck-mounted launchers that carry up to eight missiles each. They are designed to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles. North Korea has bolstered the case for the system by test-firing dozens of missiles over the past year.