06/26/2017, 09.37
SOUTH KOREA - USA
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Protests in Seoul against Thaad. US senators pressure Moon

Thousands of South Korean people march in the capital to ask for the cancellation of the project days ahead of first official visit to the United States of the newly elected president. A group of Republican and Democrat senators ask Moon to keep the alliance's commitments. In a letter to Trump they deny the interference of the American anti-missile system on Chinese territory. They condemn China's threats of retaliation on South Korea.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The United States's high-tech anti-missile defense system (Thaad) that the US wants to activate in South Korea is a serious stumbling block in the dialogue between the two countries after President Moon Jae-in questioned the project approved by his predecessor.

Two days ago, thousands of South Koreans flocked to downtown Seoul to ask Moon to deny permission to US President Donald Trump when he meets him in the next few days in Washington on his first official visit to the United States. But at the same time comes the news that both Republicans and Democrats believe the project is the necessary condition for maintaining the US-South Korean partnership.

"The anti-missile shield is not necessary for the defense of the Korean peninsula and should be canceled," the 3,000 demonstrators of Seoul Plaza said, ending the protest by besieging the United States embassy in a peaceful manner. The rally was set in view of the first Moon-Trump Summit to be held from June 29 to 30. A meeting that will strengthen trade relations and cover the implementation of the Thaad (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence).

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of US senators in an open letter by President Trump invited him to use the next summit with South Korean President to firmly reaffirm the alliance and speed up the full deployment of Thaad. These are 18 senators led by Republican Sens Cory Gardner and Democrat Bob Menendez. The letter arrived after another group of 19 senators had submitted a resolution on the importance of Moon's visit. The resolution and the letter underline the high interest the United States in this summit. The senators have asked for the full deployment of the anti-missile battery. In fact, only two of the six Thaad launchers have been installed since the South suspended the implementation of the remaining four pending an environmental review.

"We ask you to reiterate to President Moon," reads Trump's letter, " that the decision to deploy THAAD was an alliance decision, and protects both U.S. troops and millions of South Korean citizens, while not posing any threat to South Korea's neighbors,. "The obvious reference is to China threatening retaliation against South Korea if it hosts Thaad. According to Beijing, the powerful Thaad radar system serves to spy on Chinese military infrastructure as well. 

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