South Korea and the U.S. have selected Seongju west of Daegu in North Gyeongsang Province as the location for Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense batteries. They are conducting a final assessment of the site.
A government source on Tuesday said Seongju was chosen considering strategic value, safety of residents and environmental concerns because it is already home to an anti-aircraft missile base.
Final approval from both governments seems "almost certain," the source added. A joint task force is imminently submitting its recommendation for approval as early as this week.
The Air Force missile base in Seongju is home to Hawk mid-range anti-aircraft missiles and around 170 troops, but they will apparently be moved to another location once the THAAD battery comes.
The Defense Ministry declined to comment but promised a press conference explaining the earmarked site.
Seongju is strategically located to defend U.S. military stockpiles at Camp Carroll in Chilgok in the same province, as well as key U.S. bases in Pyeongtaek and Osan south of Seoul and in the southern landing ports of Busan and Gimhae.
Seongju is sparsely populated, which reduces the chances of protests from locals.
Defense Minister Han Min-koo told the National Assembly, "The THAAD has assumed enormous proportions in our minds, but from a military standpoint it's just an artillery battery. THAAD is just THAAD, but I think neighboring countries are giving it excessive strategic value and worsening the problem."
Han denied claims by some boffins that the THAAD would be useless in a war, saying otherwise China and Russia would not be so sensitive about its deployment here.
"I can clearly state that there are no doubts about its military value," he added.