THAAD Deployment Essential To Defending Against North Korean Threat
The arrival of the first elements of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system in South Korea last night is a positive step forward for U.S.-ROK cooperation to confront North Korea’s escalating missile threat. Just yesterday, North Korea’s launch of four ballistic missiles served as a reminder of the grave threat North Korea poses to U.S. military personnel in the Asia-Pacific region as well as millions of civilians in South Korea and Japan. These latest provocative actions by North Korea demonstrate the wisdom and necessity of last year’s alliance decision to deploy THAAD to South Korea.
Unfortunately yet predictably, China responded to the arrival of THAAD with vague threats against the United States and South Korea. In recent months, China has waged a campaign of diplomatic bullying and economic coercion against South Korea in an attempt to stop the deployment of THAAD. But the reality is that this missile defense system is only necessary because China has aided and abetted North Korea for decades. If China has genuine concerns about the deployment of THAAD in South Korea, it should cease its attempts to undermine South Korea’s sovereign ability to defend itself and use its considerable influence to pressure North Korea to stop its destabilizing behavior.