S. Korea formally signs land swap deal with Lotte for THAAD

Xinhua | 2017-02-28 10:21

S. Korea formally signs land swap deal with Lotte for THAAD

A woman protests against the deployment of an advanced US missile defense system in front of the Lotte Headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Feb 27, 2017. Lotte Group, South Korea's fifth-largest conglomerate, decided Monday to offer its golf course to be used as a site for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). [Photo/Xinhua]

SEOUL - South Korea's defense ministry on Tuesday signed the land swap deal with Lotte Group for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

A defense ministry official told Xinhua that the contract to exchange military land for the Lotte-owned golf course was formally signed earlier in the day.

Lotte International, a Lotte unit possessing the golf course where the U.S. missile shield is set to be sited, held a board of directors meeting Monday to approve the contract.

Seoul and Washington abruptly announced the decision in July last year to deploy one THAAD battery by the end of this year. The THAAD site was altered in September into the golf course in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province.

The golf course evaluated at about 89 billion won (78.6 million U.S. dollars) will be swapped for a military land in Gyeonggi province near the capital Seoul, according to the ministry's press release.

Negotiation on the land provision will be launched as the first step between the military authorities of the United States and South Korea. It will be followed by a basic designing of the base, an evaluation of environmental effect and a construction.

To save time, multiple procedures are expected to be carried out simultaneously. An unidentified defense ministry official told a regular briefing that various efforts will be made to move up the deployment date.

Local media speculations say the U.S. missile defense system is forecast to be installed as early as June.

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