Gov‘t confirms Defense Ministry deliberately omitted info about extra THAAD launchers

Jun 01, 2017, 08:50 am

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President Moon Jae-in is accompanied by Defense Minister Han Min-koo (far left) and former National Security Chief Kim Kwan-jin after visiting the Ministry of National Defense on May 17. This is Moon's first visit to the Ministry since becoming President./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporter Kim Dong-hyun

The Blue House carried out an investigation into the Defense Ministry's failure to report to the Moon Jae-in administration on the arrival of four additional launchers for a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery and concluded that the omission was deliberate. As a result, the Blue House notified Defense Minister Han Min-koo and former National Security Chief Kim Kwan-jin to formally respond to the Blue House investigation.

It seems that the Blue House tried to calm the controversy while explaining the omission and concealment process in detail to reflect Moon Jae-in's determination to take strict measures against those who are responsible of this case in the future.

As the Blue House revealed to the media about Defense Minister Han Min-koo's deceitful behavior toward the Blue House during the reporting process, some point out that it was aimed to show president Moon's plan for major defense reform.

"The Blue House confirmed that the Ministry of Defense intentionally omitted the fact that four additional launchers were brought into the peninsula in its report," presidential Blue House spokesman Yoon Young-chan told a briefing on Wednesday.

According to Yoon, the Blue House National Security Office and Civil Administration Office conducted intensive investigation into the case the previous day by inspecting defense military policy chief and several other military officers on the orders of the president. The Blue House found that the earlier version of the defense ministry report referred to "six launchers" and the "military base camp" where the launchers are stored, but this was later deleted after multiple reviews and edits.

The phrases "six THAAD launchers" and "four additional launchers" as well as the name of the military base camp were removed in the final version delivered to national security office chief Chung Ui-yong.

"The report was vague and merely revealed the fact that the deployment took place in South Korea," Yoon said.
It means that the Defense Ministry not only deliberately omitted details in a report, but also attempted to damage and conceal the information.

As for allegations of the opposition that this is aimed to avoid nominee hearing controversy, the Blue House refuted it by further disclosing details of the process by which it discovered the defense ministry's allegations of THAAD detail omission and concealment.

Chung Ui-yong is said to have received an a briefing on the matter by the deputy ministry for defense policy on May 26, but found some doubtful aspects. The following day, deputy security chief Lee Sang-chul asked the ministry official, who was present at the briefing, and found that four additional launchers were brought into the country.

Lee immediately informed Chung of his findings. On May 28, Chung asked for a confirmation during his luncheon with Defense Minister Han Min-koo. However, Han expressed no knowledge of the matter, saying "Was there such a thing?"

Chung believed that Han was deceiving himself and the Blue House, so he reported the issue to the president on May 29. The following day, Moon called Han directly and confirmed that four more THAAD launchers have been brought into the country.

Yoon said, "President Moon was shocked at the Defense Ministry's deliberate omission of this critical information ahead of US-S. Korea summit and that the THAAD deployment, which affects the fate of the nation and its people greatly, took place without the public aware of the situation."

Meanwhile, Han told reporters Wednesday, "This is basically an ongoing investigation, so it won't help to arrange things in general if I talk about the matter in detail."

#Moon Jae-in #THAAD #launcher #omission #deliberate 
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