South Korea is stuck between a rock and a hard place. After news leaked that the United States is exploring the possibility of deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea to counter North Korean missile threats, China voiced a strong objection, claiming that such a deployment would threaten its security. If the U.S. decides to make a formal request, Seoul will face an uncomfortable choice between its indispensable security provider and its largest trading partner – and China might not like the result.
China claims that THAAD – in particular the Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control Model 2 (AN/TPY-2) X-band radar that would accompany the interceptors – is unnecessary to counter North Korean missiles. Many Chinese analysts believe that, in fact, an overly hyped North Korean threat is Washington’s excuse to justify deployment of a system that actually targets China. [Emphasis added]
This is the same gambit repeated again and again by the Russians — that missile defense somehow “targets” someone.
But missile defense just kind of… sits there, until you need it. Like homeowner’s insurance. THAAD doesn’t threaten anybody — all it can do is knock down incoming enemy missiles. In other words, China doesn’t like THAAD because they worry it won’t allow them to use missiles as blackmail against their neighbors.
That’s not “targeting.” That’s keeping your friends a little safer from gangsters acting like gangsters.
Deploy THAAD already.