China is fuming over the plan of the United States to deploy a battery of advanced missile defense systems in South Korea. Washington is trying to pacify angry Beijing military officials by saying that the missile system is targeting threats from North Korea, not to deter China. Will China see the light or retaliate against the United States?
China Furious Over US Missile
Beijing has made it clear that it does not approve of plans of the United States to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense weapon in South Korea. There have been reports of China’s retaliation in big and small ways, such as blocking a UN Security Council resolution that condemned North Korea’s recent missile test. The country has also canceled a number of acts from South Korea.
“If THAAD is deployed, it will sour [South Korea‘s] relations with China and Russia, trigger an arms race and damage trade,” the Washington Times quoted the state-controlled China Daily newspaper.
“It will make it difficult for the country to seek cooperation from China and Russia in denuclearizing the peninsula.”
Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces-Korea, also talked with Vice Adm. James D. Syring, U.S. Missile Defense Agency chief, about the deployment. The latter told reporters that the THAAD-based missile defense system is a way to deter North Korea. It has nothing to do with undermining China’s ballistic missile defense efforts. The official clarified that the defense system is not a threat to China.
Vietnam Ready to Attack
Nonetheless, other countries like Vietnam are not sitting idly as tensions in the South China Sea rise. Vietnam recently beefed up defenses on its islands, equipping them with mobile rocket launchers that can target China’s military installations and runways.
“It is within our legitimate right to self-defense to move any of our weapons to any area at any time within our sovereign territory,” Reuters quoted Deputy Defence Minister, Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh.