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North Korea Fallout
After Nuke Test, South Korea Warms to U.S. Missile Shield

After North Korea conducted some sort of nuclear test early this month, we’ve watched as South Korea and Japan hug each other—and the United States—tighter. Well, that process looks poised to continue, according to the Wall Street Journal:

South Korea is leaning toward introducing an advanced U.S. missile defense system to guard itself against threats from North Korea following Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test, a bulwark strongly opposed by China.

Current and former American officials who have recently spoken with top South Korean policy makers say the country hasn’t decided yet whether to adopt the system that the U.S. has offered but that informal talks between Washington and Seoul had increased recently [. . .]

A former U.S. official who recently met with senior South Korean officials said a consensus appeared to be forming in Seoul. “Behind the scenes it looks like Thaad is close to a done deal,” this person said.

Although the defense shield would very much be aimed at protecting South Korea from the DPRK, China can’t be happy about deepening ties of this sort between Seoul and Washington. As we said after the test occurred, the biggest loser from the fallout is Beijing. Every time Pyongyang misbehaves, the rationale for a U.S.-led alliance in northeast Asia gets stronger.

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