THAAD Is the Wedge America Planted between China and South Korea

For President Park Geun-hye, “queen” of the Blue House or South Korea’s presidential palace, there is hesitation over joining the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). She also is agonizing over whether to allow America to set up the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in her country. On March 24, Russia warned America not to establish THAAD in South Korea, and China has also repeatedly warned that the system would disrupt the region’s peace and stability.

America’s explanation that THAAD is for protection against North Korea is unconvincing. Wise observers can see instantly that Seoul is only 40 km (approximately 25 miles) away from the 38th parallel, while North Korea’s rockets can reach 50 km (31 miles) away without any problem. THAAD cannot stop a flurry of North Korean rockets; its main goal is to target Chinese and Russian missiles.

THAAD was designed for detecting and protecting against missiles, its X-band wavelength radar can cover Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other major Chinese cities, as well as the far eastern region of Russia.

Putting THAAD in South Korea is akin to pushing the country into hell; if a China-U.S. or U.S.-Russia conflict occurred, THAAD would be the first to go. South Korea would become expendable to America while acting as a buffer for South Korea’s historic enemy, Japan.

For a long time, South Korea has relied on China for its economy and on America for its security. The country has maintained a delicate balancing act between the two big countries. If South Korea let America put THAAD on its borders and allowed America to intercept Chinese missiles, its balance with China would be potentially disrupted and it would not be a good thing.

It can be seen from the applications of various European powers to the AIIB that America’s control over its allies has greatly weakened. What’s being reflected is the rebalancing of economic power between China and the United States. America’s five allies in the Asia-Pacific region — Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Thailand (with the exception of the Philippines) — all have China as their biggest trading partner. Twenty-five percent of South Korea’s trade volume comes from its business with China, whereas its business with the U.S. is only 10 percent. The trade volume between South Korea and China has already surpassed the combined total of South Korea’s trade volume with Japan and America.

From a geopolitical point of view, setting up THAAD is more important politics-wise than military-wise. THAAD is ultimately an American plot to estrange China and South Korea. It is inserting a wedge between the two increasingly friendly countries and strapping South Korea to America’s war chariot. Just like the Ukrainian crisis pushed Europe toward America’s cause, and the Diaoyu Islands issue has forced Japan to align with America, America is always the ultimate winner.

Ever since Park Geun-hye came to power, China and South Korea have gotten closer and the relationship has become more tight-knit. America’s insistence that THAAD be inside South Korea is forcing South Korea onto the American war chariot, and is also forcing China to treat South Korea as the enemy. This is part of America’s strategy to return to the Asia-Pacific region. America wants to create a mess in East Asia, worsen the Chinese political-economic environment, and oppress China’s growth. It is America’s way of showing the world, as well as China’s neighboring countries that, “I’m still the boss, and you better believe that I’ll be the boss for another hundred years.”

President Xi Jinping has said while discussing security in Asia that, “Security should be for everyone, it cannot be that one country’s secure while other countries are not, and some countries are protected while others are not. No country should be sacrificed for the so-called ultimate security of oneself. Otherwise, it’ll be like the Kazakh proverb, ’blowing out someone else’s lamp burns off one’s own whiskers.’” This saying suits America, and suits South Korea even more. By blowing out the Chinese lamp for America, South Korea would burn off its own whiskers.

Editor’s Note: The author is a special contributor to

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