Go to contents

THE DONG-A ILBO Logo

Anti-THAAD protesters threatening to surround U.S. embassy

Anti-THAAD protesters threatening to surround U.S. embassy

Posted June. 24, 2017 07:12,   

Updated June. 24, 2017 07:17

한국어

The national coalition against THAAD in (South) Korea (No to THAAD, Yes to Peace) plans to hold a rally at Seoul City Hall and Seoul Square before marching together to the U.S. embassy in Gwanghwamun on Saturday. If the coalition comprised of over 100 civic groups joins forces with the Korean railway union, who will start a general protest rally at the Seoul Square earlier, the number of participants will likely surpass 10,000.

Initially, the coalition planned to form a "human chain" to surround the U.S. embassy, but the police have decided to block them from marching toward the Jongno Fire Station. However, if the rally participants push to march ahead by force by banking on their headcount, the police blockade could collapse. According to the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations and South Korea’s assembly and protest act, assembly and demonstration within 100 meters from a foreign mission is prohibited. If the U.S. embassy, which is protected under law, is surrounded by protestors, it will pose huge burden on President Moon Jae-in who will attend his first Seoul-Washington summit next week.

How on earth the coalition can believe conveniently that if President Moon is backed by anti-THAAD sentiment in Korea, the South Korean leader will have a bigger say in the upcoming summit? This naïve way of thinking is caused by their "shortsightedness" stemming from their ignorance of the sentiment in the U.S., which has reached the boiling point due to the death of American college student Otto Warmbier. An anti-THAAD protest rally in Seoul is a potential bomb that can redirect the highly negative public sentiment against North Korea in the U.S. towards South Korea. No many Americans will be able to understand the act of South Korea attempting to kick out a missile defense system that Seoul should naturally feel grateful, just as U.S. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said. President Moon himself is responsible to a large extent for the situation wherein anti-THAAD protestors have continued to raise their voice, since has repeatedly revealed his negative view of the missile defense system.

The anti-THAAD coalition claims that the THAAD deployment has failed to meet the legal requirement and constitutes a step towards South Korea’s inclusion in the U.S. missile defense (MD) system. They thus turn a blind eye to the highly obvious fact that THAAD is a weapons system that will protect not only the U.S. troops stationed in South Korea but South Koreans and South Korea from the threat of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missiles. As the result of a recent Gallup Korea survey suggests, 53 percent of South Koreans support the deployment of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula. The coalition should dump the idea of holding a protest rally that can jeopardize South Korean national security, and should refrain from conducting provocative acts to ensure that no mishaps happen in the course of their assembly and marching.