The United States decision to deploy a controversial missile defense system in South Korea is likely not to go well with Beijing and Moscow. These two have in the past been vocal about THAAD deployment in South Korea or its neighbors.
In a swift response to the deployed system, China issued a statement saying that it would take appropriate actions against the U.S. missile system and that both Seoul and the U.S. would have to live by the consequences.
The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system is targeted at keeping safe the U.S. and South Korea troops against North Korea’s continued missile tests and possible attacks.
However, China is concerned that the sophisticated radar capabilities could negatively impact its own military operations.
The U.S. was forced to ship the first parts of the system after North Korea conducted yet another ballistic missile test – an act already banned by the United Nations sanctions.
Ballistic Missile Test Condemned
The UN Security Council issued a unanimous statement on Tuesday, strongly condemning the launch and termed it a violation of North Korea’s obligation to observe international treaty.
The Council said that the North actions could potentially destabilize the region and regretted that the country had chosen to progress with the technology yet its citizens were languishing in poverty.
The Council members were engaged in a closed door meeting on Wednesday prior to which they had warned of taking further action against North Korea – this would be the sixth round of sanctions once implemented.
Three of the North’s missiles went as far as into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), triggering a response from PM Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump. The duo said that North Korea has a reached a whole new level when it comes to ballistic missiles.
THAAD Deployment in South Korea – China unhappy
Geng Shuang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that China is firmly against this system. He said that China would take the required measures to protect its security interest. “All consequences entailed from that will be borne by the U.S. and (South Korea). We once again strongly urge the relevant sides to stop the process of deployment and refrain from going further down that wrong path,” said Mr. Shuang.
According to The New York Times, retired Chinese general, Lou Yuan, wrote in the Global Times that the Chinese military may launch a surgical hard-kill operation that would paralyze the target and render it harmless.
The general expressed frustrations that South Korea, Japan and the U.S. have no respect for China’s major security concerns and thus Beijing need not be a “gentleman on everything.”
But Washington and Seoul have maintained that the THAAD system doesn’t target either Russia or China. Hawaii and Guam already have the THAAD systems to defend against North Korea, but South Korea was yet to receive it – an act considered by Beijing a “threat to China’s security concerns.”
THAAD can intercept and destroy short and medium range ballistic missiles as explained by the U.S. military.
The system is likely to be fully installed by early April as speculated by the South’s media but the Defense Ministry chose not to comment on that. They said that their am was to have the system in operation fast enough.
With China condemning THAAD deployment, South Korean retail giant, Lotte, has had to contend with protests after it offered one of its golf courses in southern South Korea as the site of THAAD. There is also the possibility of China preventing its tourists from visiting South Korea.