On Tuesday morning in South Korea, the United States began to deploy an antimissile system — Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) — as seen in the above photo of trucks carrying parts and other supplies. This display arrived in response to North Korea’s latest flurry of missiles, which landed off the Japanese coast. Kim Jong-Un was said to be “feasting his eyes” upon the ballistic missiles, which were intended as target practice for U.S. military bases in Japan. Now, China is feeling punchy about the U.S. response, which may reset the clock on U.S.-China tensions.
THAAD is purely intended as a defensive system meant to intercept ballistic missiles. The system was prepared last year after North Korea’s accelerating aggressive behavior, including multiple missile launches and underground nuclear tests. Yet the U.S. hesitated to deploy the system until necessary because it was assumed that Bejing and Moscow would both feel threatened as a result. And as if on cue, China has spoken of “consequences,” via the Washington Post:
“I want to emphasize that we firmly oppose the deployment of THAAD,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, at a daily press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday. “We will resolutely take necessary measures to defend our security interests.”
“All consequences entailed from this will be borne by the U.S. and the Republic of Korea,” he said.
The New York Times reports further developments, including protests from Chinese citizens, who were already angered by the development of THAAD. The Chinese government recently pressured South Korea to resist the missile defense system by closing stores owned by the country, and the Chinese state-owned news agency has now warned of “an arms race”:
For days, the official Chinese news media has warned that deployment of Thaad could lead to a “de facto” break in relations with South Korea and urged consumers to boycott South Korean products. The Chinese authorities recently forced the closing of 23 stores owned by Lotte, a South Korean conglomerate that agreed to turn over land that it owned for use in the Thaad deployment, and hundreds of Chinese protested at Lotte stores over the weekend, some holding banners that read, “Get out of China.”
Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, warned that Thaad “will bring an arms race in the region,” likening the defensive system to a shield that would prompt the development of new spears. “More missile shields of one side inevitably bring more nuclear missiles of the opposing side that can break through the missile shield,” it said.
Over the past few days, U.S. Republicans have fixated upon pushing out a clumsy Obamacare replacement and — for some bizarre reason — telling people to stop buying iPhones to afford healthcare. Meanwhile, World War III is potentially brewing. Kim Jong-Un threatened Donald Trump with missiles last year, and the country is going balls to the wall on a nuke plan this year, but the GOP’s gotta get rid of that Obamacare. Priorities.