China protests full THAAD deployment

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/7 23:23:39 Last Updated: 2017/9/8 7:52:17

S.Korea, US decision ‘brings peninsula closer to war’


Korean People's Army soldiers cheer on Wednesday while watching a fireworks display during a mass celebration in Pyongyang for scientists involved in carrying out North Korea's largest nuclear test to date. Photo: AFP



China lodged a strong protest with South Korea Thursday for installing the remaining launchers of the US anti-missile Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which analysts say drives the Korean Peninsula closer to war.

The four remaining launchers and other elements of THAAD were transported Thursday morning to a former golf course amid clashes between anti-THAAD civilians and 8,000 riot policemen that injured 30.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang reiterated China's firm opposition to the THAAD deployment on Thursday.

"I strongly urge the US and South Korea to value the security interests of China and other regional countries and immediately halt the deployment and remove the relevant equipment. China has lodged serious representations with South Korea," he said.

South Korea's defense ministry said the further deployment was aimed at dealing with rising nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The deployment of the remaining elements indicated that THAAD is now in full operation, but it does nothing to protect South Korea because the system cannot intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and long-range missiles launched by North Korea, Li Jie, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times.

The system only serves as the US' comprehensive anti-missile system, he said.

"More importantly, the US could use its THAAD to eavesdrop on China and Russia, monitor their bombers and missiles, and to intercept and even strike them," Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times.

China is able to destroy the THAAD system using its Dongfeng-21 mid-range missile and jam its radar system by using electromagnetic pulse (EMP) signals, Li said.

South Korea's deployment of the remaining THAAD launchers comes after reports that North Korea is preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) this week, following its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sunday.

"The deployment, which is similar in nature to North Korea's missile tests, cannot solve the Korean Peninsula issue, but would merely exacerbate the already chaotic situation and drive the Peninsula closer to war," Zheng Jiyong, director of Shanghai-based Fudan University's Center for Korean Studies, told the Global Times.

He warned that South Korea will be the worst affected, because the THAAD's deployment has made it the frontline of the US in the Korean Peninsula conflict.

Backlash

Aside from China, Russia has also repeatedly stated its opposition to the THAAD deployment in South Korea.

The deployment has strained South Korea's ties with China and Russia, and would easily become the target of the two countries' response through diplomatic and military channels, Xu said.

China and Russia will take necessary measures, jointly or individually, to safeguard their national security interests and the regional strategic balance, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in July.

Xi told his US counterpart Donald Trump in a telephone conversation late Wednesday that China remains committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Trump said Washington has been deeply concerned over the ongoing situation on the Korean Peninsula, and attaches importance to China's essential role in resolving the issue.

Xi reiterated China's stance during a phone conversation with german chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, saying China has been adamant in preserving international nuclear non-proliferation, maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, and resolving the nuclear issue through talks.

"China has done a lot to denuclearize the peninsula, and it's the US who does not want to see a peaceful peninsula, because a chaotic situation gives it an excuse to deploy strategic weapons in the region," Zheng said.


Newspaper headline: THAAD ‘protects no one’


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