Beijing Voices Strongest Opposition Yet To U.S. Missile Defense In South Korea

Beijing Voices Strongest Opposition Yet To U.S. Missile Defense In South Korea

Staff Reporter
2014-11-28

Qiu Guohong, the Chinese ambassador to the Republic of Korea (Photo/Xinhua)

Qiu Guohong, the Chinese ambassador to the Republic of Korea (Photo/Xinhua)

Qiu Guohong, the Chinese ambassador to the Republic of Korea, expressed Beijing’s opposition to the deployment of a US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system, also known as THAAD, to South Korea, according to the Seoul-based JoongAng Ilbo.

Designed by Lockheed Martin, the THAAD system is capable of detecting and intercepting ballistic missiles launched from more than 2,000km away. Placed in South Korea, it could easily track and monitor the movement of the People’s Liberation Army in the East China Sea with its AN/TPY-2 X-band radar. When Chinese president Xi Jinping visited Seoul on July, he asked South Korean president Park Geun-hye to consider carefully before allowing such a deployment to take place.

Qiu officially expressed China’s opposition to the deployment of THAAD in ROK territory during a conference held at the nation’s parliament on Nov. 27. He said South Korea does not need THAAD to track missiles fired 2,000km away, Won Hye-young, head of Seoul’s parliamentary special committee on the development of inter-Korean relations told the JoongAng Ilbo. Qiu said North Korea is more likely to attack the South with short-range tactical missiles.

Professor Han Seok-hee of Yonsei University said that Qiu gave the strongest opposition yet expressed by Chinese officials against THAAD in the Korean peninsula. The ambassador had already given assurances that Beijing would pressure North Korea if it refused to give up its nuclear program in the next round of Six Party Talks, which aim to find a peaceful resolution to North Korea’s creation of a nuclear weapons program. He believes that the best way for South Korea to prevent the North from invading its territory is to cooperate more closely with China.

South Korea has benefited from the territorial dispute between China and Japan which began in 2012, over a set of islands in the East China Sea administered by Japan as the Senkakus (China claims them as the Diaoyu, Taiwan as the Diaoyutai). It allows Seoul to expand its economic dealings with Beijing due to the boycott of Japanese goods in China. Meanwhile, South Korea remains an important military ally to the US. There will be a high price to pay though should South Korea get so close to the United States to become a potential threat to China’s national security, according to our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily. http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20141128000129&cid=1101

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