People’s Daily: Deployment of THAAD missile battery in ROK will hurt Asia Pacific

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Zhang Tao
2016-07-11 23:00

BEIJING, July 11 (ChinaMil) -- The U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK) announced July 8 that they will deploy THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Air Defense) missile battery in ROK, which, according to their joint statement, was merely in response to the nuclear and missile threat from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to ROK and American military forces stationed there without any other intension or targeting any third country. Even the U.S. itself would find it difficult to believe such a self-deceiving statement.

The DPRK proceeded with its nuclear missile project against the resolution of UN Security Council and the international community has every reason to object to it, but when the U.S. used the nuclear missile threat from DPRK as an excuse to deploy THAAD missile battery in ROK, it had other targets in mind other than DPRK, namely China and Russia.

For a very long time, there were intensive arguments in ROK about the pros and cons of deploying THAAD missile battery in the country. A former American military commander stationed in ROK once said that it was easier for DPRK to pose a threat to ROK and stationed American forces there by putting nuclear weapon on the plane or drone.

Considering the geographical and other characteristics of the south-north military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula, using THAAD missile battery to fend off DPRK's attack against ROK is either "breaking a fly on the wheel" or "giving no chance for the system to display its power".

The U.S. pushed so strongly to deploy THAAD missile battery because of its strategic significance.

The paramount goal of America's global strategy is to maintain its hegemony in the world and domination in international affairs, and prevent any force from challenging its dominant position. To that end, a key means adopted by the U.S. is seeking decisive advantage in the military field, both on the defensive and offensive side.

Such a mindset is reflected in its deployment of missile defense systems in Europe and Asia Pacific. If it made China and Russia the targets of missile defense outright, the U.S. was afraid of drawing fire to itself, so the nuclear missile issue in DPRK and Iran provided a perfect excuse for it to deploy missile defense systems in the eastern and western direction.

The U.S. deployment of THAAD missile battery in ROK will severely damage the strategic security interests of countries like China and Russia. THAAD's coverage, especially is X-band radar monitoring scope, far exceeds the demand for the so-called defense against DPRK, but reaches into the hinterland of Asia, seriously impairing the valid deterrence of strategic weapons in China and Russia.

This step on the U.S. part will deepen its mutual strategic mistrust with China and Russia, undermine global strategic stability, and even trigger a new round of arms race.

The U.S. planned to develop preemptive offensive advantages on the one hand and deprive the other side of any chance of counterattack on the other hand, so as to ensure its strategic initiative and freedom of operation. But one side's absolute security means the other side's absolute insecurity, and ensuring one's own security at the expense of other countries' is not a sustainable move.

China and Russia won't allow that to happen and are sure to fight back. China has no intension of engaging in an arms race with any country, but it won't be a sitting duck strategically either. What the U.S. did went counter to its commitment to building a new model of China-U.S. major-country relationship and it owes China an explanation.

This step will also take a toll on China-ROK relations and is neither helpful for realizing the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula nor conducive to maintaining its peace and stability.

Some Americans claimed that China was against the THAAD missile battery deployment in ROK because it wanted to drive a wedge in the U.S.-ROK alliance, and others even described the deployment as a way to force China to put more pressure on DPRK because obviously it wasn't hard enough on the DPRK in the past.

U.S.-ROK alliance shouldn't impair China's national security interests - that's a basic principle about international security, and the root cause of DPRK nuclear issue was the U.S.-DPRK conflict and ROK-DPRK confrontation, which can only be solved by parties involved. China doesn't owe anything to either the U.S. or ROK on that issue, but if ROK eventually becomes a chess piece in America's strategic anti-missile layout in Asia Pacific, the U.S. then owes China an explanation.

The U.S. deploying THAAD missile battery in ROK will bring harm to Asia Pacific. It once again displayed America's selfishness and total disregard of other countries' security interests, and that its diplomatic and security policies have caused much more troubles for different regions than they helped solve.

No matter how the U.S. and ROK reiterate that deploying THAAD missile battery is "completely to deal with DPRK" and doesn't target any third party, it's far from enough to dispel China's and Russia's doubts. Of course China and Russia have sufficient ways to restore the broken strategic balance, but such "strategic balance" that has escalated several times isn't something the international community, including China and Russia themselves, wants to see.

The international community has reasons to demand U.S. and ROK to stop the deployment of THAAD missile battery, not take actions that will complicate the regional situation, and not do anything that will harm the strategic security interests of Asia Pacific countries.

Written by Hua Yiwen, an expert on international issues

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