China strongly opposes the deployment of THAAD in South Korea, and will firmly take necessary actions to safeguard its own interests. That's the word from the Ministry of National Defense. The installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system began on Wednesday.
"The Chinese military will continue conducting specific exercises and training under the background of real combat, and continue with operational tasks on new weapons and equipment, resolutely safeguarding national security, and regional peace and stability."
– Yang Yujun, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense
Why is China against THAAD?
Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yang Yujun made the remarks on Thursday, stating that THAAD damages regional strategic balance and security. China strongly opposes the deployment of THAAD on the ROK. It will be holding exercises and relying on new weapons to safeguard the country's interests.
Many Chinese experts point out that THAAD will reach deep into the hinterlands of Asia, which will not only directly damages China's strategic security interests, but also harms the security interests of other countries in this region.
Also, amid growing security uncertainties, China is launching a new aircraft carrier. The Chinese and Russian militaries have issued a joint statement against the U.S.'s global anti-ballistic missile systems.
Pyongyang regards the installation of THAAD as a provocation. While the U.S. and the DPRK continue to exchange heated rhetoric over the scale of Pyongyang's nuclear program, China again called for restraint to easing tensions in Northeast Asia.
Why THAAD is not a good choice for ROK?
The Korean Peninsula is only 1,000 kilometers long. So the DPRK only needs short-range missiles to hit the South. But THAAD is not designed for short-range missiles, and short-range missiles are not the main threat.
The DPRK has long-range artillery that can destroy Seoul. THAAD can't prevent it. Even if the DPRK has short-range nuclear missiles that THAAD can intercept, the damage on both sides means nobody can win.
Many Chinese observers believe the DPRK nuclear tests are a long-range strategy, creating a bargaining chip with the U.S.. As one expert from the National Defense Ministry, Zhou Bo, says, "The deployment of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula can only set a bad example, of how anger can overpower and replace rational response."
China will continue to express its criticism of THAAD, and its next counter measures, will be closely watched.
What is THAAD?
– Capable of shooting down short and medium-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of their flight.
– Uses hit-to-kill technology where kinetic energy destroys incoming warheads.
– Has a range of 200 kilometers and can reach an altitude of 150 kilometers.
– The U.S. has previously deployed it in Guam and Hawaii as a measure against potential attacks from the DPRK.