Korea completes THAAD deployment

More than 900 Seongju residents have their heads shaved during a protest against the planned deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system at a local park in the southeastern town of Seongju

It believes the system's radar could be used to look deeply into its territory and will upset the regional security balance.

At least 38 people were injured, local officials told the AP.

In response to the sixth nuclear test on September 3, the United States and its allies are trying to have the U.N. Security Council endorse a new resolution toughening sanctions on North Korea. "It doesn't seem much time is left before North Korea achieves its complete nuclear armament", the prime minister told a meeting of defense ministers in Seoul Thursday. This prompted South Korean President Moon Jae-in to push for even harsher sanctions, including cutting off the critical crude oil supply, but China and Russian Federation - permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - have yet to come around to that particular idea.

North Korea says it needs to develop weapons to protect itself against United States aggression.

"The battery will be operational as soon as the USA finishes its internal procedures", ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told reporters.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he had an executive order ready for Trump to sign that would impose sanctions on any country that trades with Pyongyang if the United Nations does not put additional sanctions on North Korea.

Also Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated China's opposition to South Korea's deployment of a U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense System, also known as THAAD, which is meant to protect against North Korean missile attacks.

North Korea marked the 69th anniversary of its founding on Saturday boasting of its status as a world-class military power and taking an explicitly adversarial stand against the United States, as the global community struggles to rein in the secretive country following a series of weapons tests.

"We should not give in to emotions and push Pyongyang into a corner", Putin said in a news conference after meeting with Moon.

Seoul and Washington agreed in July 2016 to station a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea to counter the growing threat from the North. The Russian leader will meet with Abe later in the day.

A THAAD battery normally consists of six launchers capable of firing up to 48 interceptor missiles, but only two have been operational.

The protesters say the deployment of the missile system could turn their town into a primary target for North Korea, against which the system is being deployed.

They also say the health rumors that have spurred local concerns about the system's powerful radar component are groundless and no such issues have been reported at other THAAD sites.

Since then, North Korea has launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducted its sixth nuclear test. Moon said in a statement Friday that those created an unprecedented security threat for South Korea.

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