China Increases Threats Against THAAD Deployment in South Korea While Coddling North Korea

It seems like people in South Korea may finally be seeing how two faced China is, it just took a change in the ROK Presidential administration to confirm it:

Residents of Seongju County, North Gyeongsang Province, protest President Moon Jae-in’s order to consult with the U.S. over the temporary deployment of four more launchers of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery to a golf course in the country where two launchers have already been installed, during a press conference in front of the Ministry of National Defense in Yongsan, Seoul, Monday. / Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

China is remaining low key over North Korea’s purported successful test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Friday, while criticizing South Korea for its decision to deploy additional U.S. anti-missile launchers to deter Pyongyang’s military threats.

This is part of China’s “two-faced” policy of embracing North Korea as a buffer zone against U.S. military power and bullying South Korea to bring discord to the Seoul-Washington alliance, analysts said Monday.

China apparently toned down its rhetoric, turning a deaf ear to the international community’s condemnation of Pyongyang’s missile launch late Friday night.

It only asked North Korea to “observe the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and suspend activities that can heighten tension on the Korean Peninsula.”  (……..)

On the contrary, Beijing has intensified its protest against the deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea, after Seoul decided to install four additional launchers of the system temporarily in addition to the two that are in operation.

On Saturday, the Chinese foreign ministry expressed “grave concerns” over the Moon Jae-in administration’s decision to deploy the additional THAAD launchers.

Saying it “firmly opposes” THAAD, the ministry said the U.S. missile shield “seriously” damages the balance of power in the region while violating China’s national interest. It has urged both Seoul and Washington to suspend the THAAD deployment and withdraw related equipment.  (…..)

“China’s long-term goal is to weaken the U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region, and North Korea’s progress in ICBM technology serves its purpose,” said Yang Uk, a senior research fellow at the Korea Defense and Security Forum. “This is because Washington, jointly with Seoul and Tokyo, will have to spend extra time and money against Pyongyang’s ICBMs while Beijing can go ahead with its plan to flex its muscles in the region. It’s no wonder China did not criticize Pyongyang as harshly as it did Seoul.”

“Under these circumstances, I must say China is colluding with North Korea and is being negligent in its duty as a permanent member of the UNSC,” a researcher at the Sejong Institute said on condition of anonymity.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but you have to love the claim from China that THAAD harms their national interests.  North Korean ICBMs do much more to harm the ROK and the United States’ national interests which China clearly does not care about.

US and South Korea Respond with Live-Fire Exercise After North Korea Tests 2nd ICBM

I will wait to hear what the US military releases publicly about how successful the warhead for this ICBM was before I believe anything the Kim regime puts out:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Saturday the second flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrated his country can hit the U.S. mainland, hours after the launch left analysts concluding that a wide swath of the United States, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of North Korean weapons.

The Korean Central News Agency said that Kim expressed “great satisfaction” after the Hwasong-14 missile reached a maximum height of 3,725 kilometers (2,314 miles) and traveled 998 kilometers (620 miles) before accurately landing in waters off Japan. The agency said that the test was aimed at confirming the maximum range and other technical aspects of the missile it says was capable of delivering a “large-sized, heavy nuclear warhead.”

Analysts had estimated that the North’s first ICBM on July 4 could have reached Alaska, and said that the latest missile appeared to extend that range significantly.

Immediately after the launch, U.S. and South Korean forces conducted live-fire exercises. South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo called for the deployment of strategic U.S. military assets — which usually means stealth bombers and aircraft carriers — as well as additional launchers of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system.

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the missile, launched late Friday night, flew for about 45 minutes — about five minutes longer than the first. The missile was launched on very high trajectory, which limited the distance it traveled, and landed west of Japan’s island of Hokkaido.

The KCNA quoted Kim as saying that the launch reaffirmed the reliability of the country’s ICBM system and an ability to fire at “random regions and locations at random times” with the “entire” U.S. mainland now within range. The agency said that the test confirmed important features of the missile system, such as the proper separation of the warhead and controlling its movement and detonation after atmospheric re-entry.  [Associated Press]

You can read more at the link, but if the Moon administration is now asking for the deployment of the four additional THAAD launchers doesn’t this mean that the current delay is entirely political?  The supposed environmental concerns delaying the emplacement of the four launchers doesn’t just go away after North Korea tests an ICBM unless there was never any serious environmental concerns in the first place.

North Korea Believed to Be Readying Next Missile Test for Anniversary of Korean War Armistice

It looks like the next missile test for North Korea could occur on July 27th the anniversary for the signing of the Armistice Agreement ending the Korean War:

“North Korea seems to be boasting of its plan to develop Pukguksong-3 submarine-launched ballistic missiles that have become shorter but have higher engine output.”

Concerns of another ballistic missile test are looming as CNN recently reported satellite imagery and satellite-based radar emissions indicate Pyongyang may be testing components and missile control facilities for an intercontinental ballistic missile or intermediate range missile launch within the next two weeks.

There are forecasts Pyongyang could forge ahead with another provocation sometime around July 27th, the day of the signing of the 1953 Armistice Agreement that brought a ceasefire in the Korean War, and which is also the day when South Korea’s military said they will wait until for a response on proposed inter-Korean military talks.  [Arirang]

You can read more at the link.

North Korean Media Outlet Calls on President Moon to End US-ROK Military Drills

This is another example of the momentum building towards a freeze deal with North Korea:

A pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan said Tuesday that President Moon Jae-in should not expect a positive response from Pyongyang to his latest reconciliatory proposal, as Seoul is still not giving up its submission to the United States.

The Chosun Sinbo also called on South Korea to end its joint annual military exercises with the U.S. if it hopes to prove its willingness to improve ties.

Moon unveiled a broad vision for bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula during his speech in Berlin last Thursday, two days after the North test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

“If the proposal is based on South Korea’s subversion to the U.S. and hostility toward the North, Seoul cannot expect Pyongyang’s positive response,” the newspaper said.

The paper serves as an unofficial mouthpiece for Pyongyang. North Korea’s state media has yet to unveil its official response to Moon’s proposal.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but calls from the North Korean media to end US-ROK military drills will be ceased upon by the freeze deal advocates as a sign that the Kim regime is acceptable to such a deal.  The Chinese and Russians have also come out in support of suspending US-ROK military drills in return for North Korea suspending their missile and nuclear programs.

South Korean Intelligence Says North Korea Has Not Mastered ICBM Reentry Technology

As we have seen with North Korea’s missile program it is only a matter of time before they develop the reentry technology:

North Korea has yet to fully secure the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as it remains unknown whether the country’s recently fired ballistic missile successfully re-entered the atmosphere, lawmakers said Tuesday quoting the spy agency.

On July 4, North Korea fired a ballistic missile called Hwasong-14 which reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers and flew 933 km for 39 minutes. The North touted it as the country’s first successful ICBM launch.

But South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) concluded that the latest missile still lacked re-entry technology although it flew as far as an ICBM does, Rep. Yi Wan-young of the Liberty Korea Party and Rep. Kim Byung-kee of the ruling Democratic Party said following the spy agency’s parliamentary report on the July 4 launch.

“Although North Korea claimed that (the missile’s) heat resistance was verified, whether it re-entered (the atmosphere safely) was not confirmed and the country has no relevant test facility, making it look like it has not secured the technology,” the NIS was quoted as reporting to the parliamentary intelligence committee.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

President Trump Says “Something” Will Have to Happen in Response to North Korea ICBM Test

Here is the latest on President Trump’s reaction to the recent North Korean nuclear test: