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North Korea Fallout
US-South Korea to Deploy THAAD

After months of negotiations, Washington and Seoul have agreed to deploy an advanced anti-missile weapons system that will help South Korea protect itself from its restive northern neighbor. The LA Times reports:

The decision to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system was formally announced at a news conference Friday in Seoul by Gen. Thomas Vandal, chief of staff for the U.S. forces in South Korea, and South Korea’s deputy minister of defense, Ryu Je-seung.

“North Korea’s continued development of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction, in opposition to its commitments to the international community, require our alliance to ensure that we retain the ability defend ourselves in the face of this threat,” Vandal said.

The system “will be focused solely on North Korean nuclear and missile threats and would not be directed towards any third party nations,” the Pentagon added in a statement.

China, predictably, isn’t happy:

“China is very unsatisfied and resolutely opposes” the move, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday. “The missile system is unhelpful in realizing the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, is no good for the stabilization of the peninsula, runs counter to the effort of various parties’ negotiations, and will severely damage the safety of China and nearby countries and the regional strategic balance.”

Of course, Beijing might have prevented THAAD’s deployment, had its diplomats been able to bring North Korea in line. But Pyongyang hasn’t seemed deterred by China this year, and the weapons tests are only getting more frequent.

The other actor worth keeping an eye on is Russia, which also has been warning for months against deploying a THAAD system in the area. Responding to news of the deployment, Moscow said it is considering sending its own missiles to eastern Siberia. China won’t be happy about that either.

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  • Citizen of the World

    Interesting take on this in Asia Times; say containing DPRK may lead to arms race with both China & Russia.

  • Blackbeard

    I’m old enough to remember when Reagan proposed an ABM defense and the NY Times, and every other liberal in the land, derisively labeled it “Star Wars” and assured us, with their usual absolute certainty, that it could never work and Reagan’s insistence on trying anyway proved his senility. Today Obama is deploying an ABM defense. How fortunate we didn’t listen to the naysayers, and what else are the liberals absolutely certain about today that will also be proved wrong in 20 or 30 years?

    • FriendlyGoat

      35 years of technology advancement likely matter to what is practical.

      • Blackbeard

        My point is that, had we listened to he liberal point of view, which was that all this was impossible, we would never have invested in the necessary R&D to make an ABM system practical.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Some of it is still impractical. I’m for THAAD, but not for attributing it directly to Reagan with a the accompanying slam on “what else” liberals will be “proved wrong” on in next 20-30 years. I was a liberal when Star Wars was first floated and was never against the idea of shooting down incoming ICBM’s. Reagan’s vision was derided at the time in part on the knowledge that it was nowhere near possible at the time.

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