Impeachment of South Korea’s Park May End THAAD Deployment
Nov. 25, 2016 (EIRNS)—A leading member of the South Korean opposition Democratic Party (Minjoo) has claimed he has evidence that the woman accused of illegally using her personal influence over President Park Geun-hye, Choi Soon-sil, was responsible for influencing the President to drop her opposition to the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in July.
An Mik-suk, a member of the National Assembly from the Democratic Party, told the press that Choi had direct ties to Lockheed Martin, the producer of the THAAD system, and had met with the president of Lockheed in June, a month before Park made her decision to allow the Obama administration to proceed with the THAAD system, which both Russia and China have identified as a direct threat to their national security. An also said that Choi had been similarly involved with a 2014 decision by the South Korean government to purchase 40 of Lockheed’s F-35s, rather than Boeing’s F-15s.
While An has not provided any definitive proof of the allegations, knowledgable sources in Seoul told EIR that he is a credible person and that the accusations could well be true. Investigations into Choi’s use of her influence over President Park to get huge contributions from major companies for her foundations are already under investigation, and a vote to impeach Park for her role appears to be imminent in the next week or so.
The Korea Times reported that An told TBS radio: "As far as I know, Choi met with Lockheed’s president in June," having been introduced by a "big shot" in diplomatic and defense circles who had close ties to Lockheed. Park made her decision in July. An said that six years ago, when this go-between stayed in the United States for two years, Lockheed paid for it. He said any alleged wealth Choi might have accumulated from her coercion of the corporations would be nothing compared with the "commission" she may have received from the government’s decision to deploy THAAD.
"When National Security Office chief Kim Kwan-jin was serving as defense minister and decided to select the F-35 over Boeing’s F15 Silent Eagle, he said it was a political decision. I am focusing on what that meant."
On Nov. 15, An claimed that Lockheed has won many more defense contracts in South Korea since Park became President in 2013 than previously.
"Lockheed was awarded some 80 billion won ($68 million) in contracts covering from 2010 to 2015, but contracts the company secured to cover from 2015 to 2021 are worth more than 12 trillion won (over $10 billion)."
Several leading Korea "experts" in the United States today warned that the THAAD deployment could go down with Park.