Land-swap deal reached for THAAD battery site in S. Korea
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s defense ministry reached a tentative land-swap deal Wednesday with a major conglomerate to acquire the planned site for an advanced U.S. missile defense system aimed at countering the growing threat from North Korea.
The agreement brings Washington and Seoul a step closer to their goal of deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, known as THAAD, next year.
The Ministry of National Defense said it agreed to give the Lotte Group, one of South Korea’s largest family-run conglomerates, state-owned military land near Seoul in exchange for the Lotte Skyhill Country Club in the southeastern Seongju area.
After appraisals of both sites, the board of directors of golf club’s operator, Lotte International, will meet to consider the deal, which will be adjusted if there’s a large gap in value, the ministry said in a statement.
An official with the Lotte Skyhill Country Club, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, stressed that the deal was preliminary.
“It means we are going to do the exchange if we get a proper assessment of the value,” he said in a telephone interview. “So depending on the appraisal and assessment results, there is still a possibility the exchange won’t go through.”
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