THAAD deployment ties Seoul onto U.S. chariot, poisons regional stability

Source: XinhuaEditor: Zhang Tao
2016-08-01 21:28

A man from Seongju county holds a banner to protest against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), during a rally in Seoul, capital of South Korea, on July 21, 2016. More than 2,000 people from Seongju county, where one THAAD battery will be deployed, gathered at a square in Seoul for a rally on Thursday, to protest against the deployment of THAAD. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)

by Qu Junya, Liu Lili

BEIJING, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- By deploying the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) anti-missile missile system in South Korea, Washington not only ties Seoul onto its chariot, but also casts a shadow of a new Cold War over Northeast Asia, to the detriment of regional peace and stability.

For hawks in Washington, deploying THAAD on the Korean Peninsula is a phased victory for their efforts to forge an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as the THAAD system in South Korea can be integrated with those already installed in the U.S. military bases in Japan and the Guam island.

For South Korea, the deal with Washington is largely seen as a serious damage to its political mutual trust with its neighbors and an invitation for economic punishments which Seoul cannot afford.

In addition, the deployment has resulted in public fury over South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her administration at home, bringing her public support to an all-time low. An opinion poll conducted last week by local media shows that her supporting rate among young people in their 20s even dropped to below 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the deployment will also intensify confrontation between the two Koreas, as Pyongyang might be provoked by strategic insecurity and go further on developing missiles or even banned nuclear weapons.

And with its X band radar commanding surveillance of an area that extends over 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) from the peninsula, the United states can spy on almost half of China's territory and the southern part of Russia's Far East, putting China and Russia's national security in danger.

What is worse, Seoul's nearsighted and hotheaded decision also breaks the strategic balance in Northeast Asia. Some analysts even hold the view that it will force Beijing and Moscow to take strategic countermeasures, looming large the possibility of a new round of arms race and ultimately, a new Cold War, which would inflict unbearable pains onto the Korean Peninsula and further drift it away from the dream of reunification.

For all that, by agreeing on THAAD's deployment, South Korea has put the cart before the horse in its pursuit of national security.

With the specter of Cold War never disjoining us, Seoul is highly advised to make a second thought before carrying out the deployment, which will only make itself an oblation of Washington's insatiable appetite for hegemony and military supremacy.


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