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FILE PHOTO: A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout via Reuters/File Photo


SEOUL (Reuters) - The board of an affiliate of South Korea's Lotte Group approved a land swap with the government on Monday that will enable authorities to deploy a controversial U.S. missile defence system, the defence ministry said.

The government decided last year to deploy the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, in response to North Korea's missile threat, on land that is part of a golf course owned by Lotte in the Seongju region, southeast of Seoul.

South Korea has said it and the United States aim to make the system operational by the end of the year.

China objects to the deployment of the system in South Korea saying it will undermine the regional security balance. [B9N1FA00J]

(Reporting by Ju-min Park and Joyce Lee; Writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Robert Birsel)