SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's ruling Democratic Party lawmakers against the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on Monday cast doubts on its missile interception capability on the Korean Peninsula.
The Democratic Party's special panel to draw up countermeasures to the U.S. missile shield deployment, composed of anti-THAAD members, held a public hearing in the National Assembly building, blatantly raising doubts on the operability and effectiveness of the U.S. weapons.
Rep. Shim Jae-kwon, who leads the anti-THAAD panel, said THAAD in South Korea would be incapable of defending the capital Seoul and its surrounding areas from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s missile attacks.
The three-term lawmaker said the U.S. anti-missile system would be also incapable of protecting the new garrison of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, and the southeastern port city of Busan, to which the U.S. reinforcements are believed to be dispatched in time of armed conflict.
He noted that THAAD in South Korea could only intercept missiles flying toward the areas near Seongju county at an altitude of 40-150 km.
THAAD is designed to shoot down missiles at an altitude of 40-150 km. Most of DPRK missiles taking aim at South Korea fly at an altitude of less than 40 km.
THAAD interceptors are unable to defend the capital Seoul and its surrounding metropolitan areas, which are home to about half of the country's 50 million population, as they have a maximum interception range of around 200 km.
The THAAD battery, deployed in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province, is located over 300 km southeast of the capital city.
The remaining THAAD launchers and other elements were transported to the U.S. military base at the county earlier this month after violent dispersion of anti-THAAD protest rallies by residents and peace activists.
Rep. Shin Dong-keun of the Democratic Party said THAAD will be operated in a way that a bullet should intercept another bullet, stressing that if interceptors fall short of destroying incoming missiles and just alter the direction of missiles, it would fall inside the South Korean territory.
Rep. Lee Hoon said THAAD launchers in South Korea could only defend from 48 DPRK missiles, even assuming that THAAD has a 100-percent interception capability.
A THAAD battery is comprised of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, the AN/TPY-2 radar and the fire and control unit.
Lee urged the defense ministry to conduct simulation tests to make known to the pubic the THAAD's interception capability under situations that the DPRK fires ballistic missiles at a normal angle.
Rep. Sul Hoon of the ruling party said THAAD was installed in South Korea for political reasons, rather than military purposes, to consider relations with the United States, noting that the THAAD's military effectiveness would be very poor.