The Vice Chairman of the Seoul Financial Forum has come out against the deployment of THAAD to Korea:
James Rooney, vice chairman of the Seoul Financial Forum, said that South Korea will suffer unwanted consequences for its deployment of a U.S. missile defense system, describing the move as a “self-inflicted” mistake.
He said that South Korea needs to keep the U.S. engaged but not at the expense of antagonizing China through inappropriate access to the latter for either Washington or Japan through a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
“Bringing THAAD onto the Korean Peninsula is the most thoughtless thing that South Korea has done in a long time,” Rooney told The Korea Times.
He said that THAAD is next to the worst solution to solve the North Korea nuclear issue. He believes that it will further sour relations among neighbors and escalate geopolitical tension in the region
“THAAD is an unnecessary and distracting sideshow from much bigger and urgent issues that need to be addressed today, both within Korea and in the neighborhood,” he said.
“But it will not go away by ignoring it, and China’s issues with it will not change just because we want to argue the case differently,” he added. “We need to respect their opinion and take actions accordingly.”
Using the example of a spy cam, Rooney, a professor of international finance at Sogang University, explained why China is so sensitive to the missile defense system.
“Imagine your next door neighbor installed a spy cam system that enabled him to look over into your garden and could even tell what was going on inside your house,” he said.
His argument was that he installed it to watch out for thieves and villains coming from the other direction and has nothing to do with the neighbor.
“You cannot imagine why your neighbor would want to give this party access to information about themselves like this, but you certainly do not want any third parties to have greater abilities to monitor you and potentially threaten you with defensive weapons,” he said.
It is claimed that THAAD is purely defensive, but he said that there is no good reason to believe that the claims made for its defensive capabilities will play out to prevent loss of human life in the future.
“Many may not realize that it actually adds to the potential for death and destruction in the neighborhood because once it is installed there will be a temptation for the targeted adversary to test it to see what happens,” he added. “That temptation is not present if THAAD is not present.” [Korea Times]
You can read the rest at the link.
Mr. Rooney’s spy camera claims are only valid if you assume that the US currently has no sensors to track Chinese ballistic missile launches. Does anyone really think the US has no sensors right now to track Chinese missile launches? Does Mr. Rooney know that two identical AN/TPY-2 radars, identical to the one THAAD uses is located just across the water from Korea in Japan. Why didn’t China complain about the installation of those radars. Plus if THAAD in Korea is going to be used to spy on Chinese ballistic missile launches, it is pointed in the wrong direction of where China’s ballistic missile test range is located at.
The THAAD radar is not a 360 radar, like other missile defense systems such as Patriot, it is a directional radar pointed towards the enemy ballistic missile threat. To look towards western China the radar would have to be completely turned away from North Korea making it useless to defend against ballistic missiles fired from North Korea. Plus if the radar is turned towards western China satellite surveillance from China would easily detect this and would validate their current claims. The US military is not stupid and knows they can’t point the radar towards China with no one noticing.
Red line represents 3,000 km range perimeter for the THAAD radar in Korea, based off the greatest range estimates for the system if it was pointed towards western China. The yellow line represents 3,000 km range estimate for a Kyogamisaki Communications Site AN/TPY-2 radar in western Japan which the Chinese did not protest against the installation of. Graphic from the Diplomat.
Then Mr. Rooney’s claim that North Korea would actually launch something at THAAD “to see what happens” is very unlikely. Launching a ballistic missile into South Korea could be interpreted as an act of war and met with a heavy response. Plus all across South Korea the US and the ROK military already have Patriot missile batteries deployed at key locations. The North Koreans have never launched a ballistic missile into South Korea “to see what happens” with those systems. THAAD like Patriot is missile defense system, just with greater range to shoot down more capable threats the North Koreans have developed that the Patriot system has less capability to shoot down.
The reason why China is opposed to THAAD is the simplest answer which is they are attempting to create a wedge in the US-ROK alliance. I think it will ultimately fail considering how even the left wing ROK politicians favored to win the ROK presidency have now come out to support the THAAD deployment.