The South Korean military's step to acquire a site from multinational conglomerate Lotte Group to deploy the Terminal high altitude area defence (Thaad) system could be delayed, the country's defence ministry said on Monday (16 January).

The US missile defence system is set to be deployed on a golf course in the Seongju region, southeast of Seoul. The land is owned by the Lotte group.

A spokesperson for the defense ministry, Moon Sang-gyun was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying "The administrative process is underway to secure a golf course from the business group in exchange for a piece of state-owned military land. But the swap deal originally scheduled to be completed by January may be pushed back a bit due to the need to follow a set process by Lotte."

"Lotte needs to hold a meeting of the board of directors to approve the final assessment fee. We understand that the meeting has not happened yet, but will be held soon," Moon added.

The anti missile defence system is being deployed to protect South Korea against the threat of nuclear capabilities of the North, according to Washington and Seoul.

However, China has voiced objection as it fears the defence system's radar could compromise its security. It has been also met with protests from farmers in the Seongju area who are concerned that the missile system's radar will destroy local melon crops.

A former opposition leader in South Korea, Moon Jae-in and a current presidential candidate said the deployment should wait until the next government is in place.