China vows ac­tion as THAAD wins sup­port

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Bei­jing re­it­er­ated that China would “res­o­lutely” take nec­es­sary ac­tions to pro­tect its se­cu­rity in­ter­ests in re­sponse to US de­ploy­ment of the Ter­mi­nal High Alti­tude Area De­fense sys­tem in the Repub­lic of Korea.

For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing made the re­mark Thurs­day in re­sponse to Michael Flynn, US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s des­ig­nated na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, calling the de­ci­sion to de­ploy THAAD an “ap­pro­pri­ate move”.

“China has re­peat­edly ex­pressed its se­ri­ous con­cerns and clear op­po­si­tion,” Hua said. “The THAAD de­ploy­ment by the US in the ROK se­verely un­der­mines the re­gional strate­gic bal­ance and the strate­gic and se­cu­rity in­ter­ests of rel­e­vant re­gional coun­tries in­clud­ing China.

“It will not help pre­serve the peace and sta­bil­ity of the Korean Penin­sula. We hope that rel­e­vant coun­tries can take our le­git­i­mate con­cerns se­ri­ously and halt the de­ploy­ment.”

This was the first time that a se­nior ad­viser to Trump of­fered clear back­ing for THAAD. It sug­gests that Trump, who re­peat­edly hinted in the elec­tion cam­paign at the pos­si­bil­ity of the US re­duc­ing its mil­i­tary pres­ence over­seas, would con­tinue to pur­sue de­ploy­ment of the THAAD an­timis­sile sys­tem in the ROK, ac­cord­ing to the ROK’s Dong-A Ilbo news­pa­per.

Flynn, speak­ing to a del­e­ga­tion from Seoul in Washington, said, “The Seoul-Washington al­liance re­mains strong and firm,” ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports. He also called for closer col­lab­o­ra­tion with Seoul to deal with nu­clear and mis­sile is­sues from Py­ongyang, which THAAD was de­signed to de­ter.

Shi Yong­ming, an Asia-Pa­cific stud­ies re­searcher at the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said THAAD sup­port from a Trump se­nior ad­viser is meant to strengthen the tri­lat­eral in­tel­li­gence al­liance between US, ROK and Ja­pan, and “build a NATO-like or­ga­ni­za­tion in Asia.”

“The US can use THAAD as a ploy to in­stall pow­er­ful radar that can de­tect mis­sile ac­tiv­i­ties in China and Rus­sia,” said Shi. With the ROK and Ja­pan sign­ing an in­tel­li­gence shar­ing pact last month, the US might put for­ward its own in­tel­li­gence shar­ing pact and use THAAD to give it­self an edge in ne­go­ti­a­tions, Shi said.

Teng Jian­qun, re­search di­rec­tor at China Arms Con­trol and Dis­ar­ma­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, said the goal is to use THAAD in the ROK to con­tain China.

Last week, ROK lead­er­ship con­tender Moon Jae-in sug­gested the de­ploy­ment should wait, but act­ing Pres­i­dent Hwang Kyo-ahn on Wed­nes­day called for im­me­di­ate de­ploy­ment of THAAD to de­ter the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea, ac­cord­ing to Yon­hap news.

In the fi­nal anal­y­sis, it will be the ROK pop­u­la­tion that will de­cide the fate of THAAD, which re­mains un­cer­tain given the coun­try’s in­ter­nal tur­moil, Teng said.

Stu­dents from more than 70 coun­tries and re­gions take part in a tug-of-war com­pe­ti­tion at South China Nor­mal Univer­sity in Guangzhou, Guang­dong prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day.

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