South Korean military officials say a private golf course in the country's southeast region has been chosen as the new site for an advanced U.S. missile defense system to be deployed by the end of next year to help cope with North Korean threats.

The announcement Friday came two months after Seoul's Defense Ministry originally picked a nearby artillery base in the rural farming county of Seongju as the site for Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD.

But Seongju residents fiercely protested the plan, raising fears over potential health hazards they believe the system's powerful radar might cause.

The golf course currently owned by South Korea's Lotte business group is also within Seongju county, but located farther away from residential areas.