Ban Ki-moon fails to understand THAAD’s damaging effect

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2017/1/16 23:33:39

Ban Ki-moon, who has recently stepped down as UN secretary-general, is throwing his weight behind the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system on South Korean soil. Given that the peninsula is "in a quasi-state of war," the THAAD installation is "appropriate," Ban said Sunday. As for the issue of relations with neighboring countries, Ban showed his confidence as former UN chief while noting that problems can be solved "through diplomacy."

However, because of his previous role as UN secretary-general, he is expected to have more understanding over why Beijing and Moscow cannot tolerate any move to break the balance of the region.

From the perspective of the Korean Peninsula situation itself, Ban seems to have failed to learn from the lessons of the past decades - whoever carries out provocative actions will only find countermeasures from the other side. In the end, crises have never been resolved while the two sides keep escalating their contradictions by safeguarding their own security interests and jeopardizing other's safety at the same time. The THAAD deployment is not an effective and correct answer to threats made from Pyongyang, but simply another provocative move in the name of defense.

Ban should also be well aware that the UN can only play its function when major powers are in balance. Nevertheless, once THAAD is set up, the current strategic balance among China, the US and Russia will be wrecked and the three sides will sharply confront one another. In that case, the Korean Peninsula will only turn into a zone filled with direct clashes of interests.

South Koreans probably think that once Seoul actually sets the system up, China will find that nothing more can be done. Such thinking is too naïve. The THAAD installation in South Korea will pose a hazardous challenge to China's security and core interests. Beijing's stance on the issue can't be bargained over. 

Is the Sino-South Korean relationship less important than the US THAAD system? Even if the Blue House's decision was made for defense, has Seoul ever pondered the consequence of turning Beijing hostile?

Soon after Ban retired from the UN, he asserted that he would give his all for his country. However, he needs to think again about how to genuinely live up to that. As he mentioned, the peninsula is "in a quasi-state of war," so the last thing he should do now is stir up more tensions in the peninsula.

One of Ban's achievements as UN secretary-general was the Iran nuclear deal, which was reached after a 12-year standoff between Tehran and other nations. Due to the complexity on the Korean Peninsula, Ban should show even more patience and wisdom than how he dealt with Iran, instead of intensifying contradictions the minute he goes back to his country.

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