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North Korea Fallout
Beijing and Moscow Object to U.S.–Korea Missile Defense Collaboration

Seoul and Washington have been in advanced discussions to install a sophisticated anti-missile system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea. The plan, which received a sense of added urgency after North Korea conducted nuclear tests earlier this year, has now prompted vociferous protestation from Russia and China. Reuters:

Speaking at joint press briefing with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the United States should respect “legitimate concerns” of China and Russia over the missile system.

“This move goes beyond the defensive needs of the relevant countries. If it is deployed it will directly impact China’s and Russia’s respective strategic security,” Wang said.

“Not only does it threaten the resolution of the peninsula nuclear issue, it quite possibly could pour oil on the fire of an already tense situation, and even destroy strategic equilibrium on the peninsula.”

North Korea’s actions should not be used as an excuse to make moves that would escalate tensions, especially the U.S. deployment of an anti-missile system, Lavrov said, according to an interpretation in Chinese.

Yesterday, Xi Jinping assured South Korea that he would do whatever it took to prevent war. But South Korea isn’t convinced that Beijing takes its fears of Pyongyang seriously, and Seoul has been strengthening relationships with Tokyo and Washington.

Moscow, for its part, has kept relatively quiet since North Korea became more restive earlier this year. There were even indications that Putin had decided to be tough on North Korea in a show of goodwill to Tokyo. In exchange, Abe asked the G-7, which had booted Russia from its conferences as punishment for the Ukraine invasion, to readmit Moscow expeditiously. But in recent days, any possibility of a Japan–Russia entente has dissolved, with Lavrov stating that the Kremlin was not willing to negotiate on the contentious Kuril island dispute that has frustrated Tokyo–Moscow relations since the end of World War II.

Now it’s the Americans’ move. Will they deploy the THAAD system, will they cave to Russia and China’s objections, or is there some other desirable arrangement? Could the threat of THAAD be a means to force Pyongyang’s only backers to force real and meaningful concessions out of Kim Jong-un?

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    With Obama still President we already know that whatever is the worst choice, will be what he decides to do.

    • DiogenesDespairs

      The appropriate response by the US and South /Korea is short and simple. It starts with an F and ends with a U.

      What the Obamanation response will be is another question.

    • gabrielsyme

      One can hope that this is an issue that simply won’t enter his radar screen and will be effectively settled by the careerists at State and Defence.

      • Jim__L

        I hope by “careerist” you don’t mean those who kiss up to the administration in the hopes of advancement…

        Would “professionals” be a better word?

  • Angel Martin

    America has many enemies, some overt like Iran and N Korea. Some covert like China and Russia.

    When Russia assists the nuclear program of a would-be genocidal enemy of the USA (Iran), that is an incredibly hostile act.

    When Russia and China interfere with American attempts to defend itself from one of the most dangerous, and certainly the most erratic enemy of the USA (N Korea), that also is an incredibly hostile act.

    It is said that it is more important to watch what politicians do, rather than listen to what they say.

    That goes double for hostile foreign dictators.

    • Nevis07

      Some nations only respect force of arms and hard power. Too many DC elite have fooled themselves into thinking that we could just carry on the way we have since the mid ’90s and everything would be fine. Real leadership is what is needed.

  • Nevis07

    China AND Russia don’t want to see THAAD? Well now we know for certain that it’s probably the best thing we could actually do. Heck, I say we put five more in Asia and Eastern Europe. Or does Russia still want to disrupt and annex Europe and China takeover all of the South and East China Seas? I know what I’d do if I were president.

    But then, Obama is more concerned with his legacy. Scarborough Shoals is where we see the real stare-down. Watch for China to preempt the UN court ruling over territorial claims and for our Navy to be put on a leash all the way from 1600 Penn Ave. Disgusting.

  • Blackbeard

    Yesterday I saw Obama on TV discussing the North Korean nuclear situation and mentioning the potential deployment of a missile defense system in South Korea. I am old enough to remember when Reagan initially proposed an ABM system which the NY Times then derisively labeled “Star Wars” to show what a senile old fool Reagan was. For many years afterwards it was a central tenet of liberal thought that ABM systems were a foolish waste of money because, as any idiot could plainly see, they could never work.

    Now a liberal president calmly proposes an ABM system and no one remarks upon the provenance of such systems.

    Notice how this works: The left stakes out a unequivocal position on a controversial issue and is later proved to have been completely wrong. Their earlier position is then completely forgotten and never mentioned.

    When you control the media, the entertainment industry and the academic world you never have to say you’re sorry.

  • Andrew Allison

    The Russian and Chinese position is laughable. First, the Nork’s having tried three times in the past few days to launch intermediate range missiles, the move is clearly within the defensive needs of the relevant countries, unless, of course, only Russia and China are relevant. Furthermore, the only way in which a missile DEFENSE system can be considered a threat to Russia’s and China’s strategic security is if they want to be able to launch missiles against South Korea and neighboring Japan.

    • gabrielsyme

      Well, the Russian and Chinese position is weak- it’s easy to see why they would prefer THAAD to not occur. But clearly it’s not a central issue for either of them; and they are simply trying to raise the issue to gain diplomatic consideration in other areas.

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