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Why THAAD is controversial in South Korea, China and Russia


Advanced THAAD system now ready to stop North Korean missiles, but not everyone is happy about it
The U. S. military now has an advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system up and running (mostly) in South Korea, ready to take out at least some missiles that Kim Jong Un’s rogue North Korean regime  could launch.
The objective of the THAAD deployment, which the U. S. agreed to pay for under an agreement between the Obama administration and South Korea, is to protect U. S. troops in Asia and allies like South Korea and Japan from a potential North Korean attack. But opposition to it has been fierce, and it has already had very real implications. Here’s why:
China is furious about the THAAD deployment, and that complicates the already-daunting challenge President Trump faces in trying to resolve the standoff with North Korea.
Republican and Democratic senators attended an unprecedented classified briefing at the White House Wednesday. Tensions are rising on the Korean…
While Beijing has almost certainly grown weary of Kim Jong Un’s repeated refusals to play by the rules of international conduct and stop testing nuclear devices and missiles, China remains, at least for the purposes of broad definition, an ally of North Korea and a strategic competitor of the United States.
It is not the prospect of the U. S. shooting down a North Korean missile irking Beijing, but rather the ability. THAAD’s advanced radar system gives the U. S. military the ability to peer across the Yellow Sea into China’s own airspace and potentially to track the movement of Chinese military hardware on the ground.
Beijing has voiced its strong disapproval since the THAAD deployment in South Korea was first announced. That annoyance was reiterated Tuesday by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, who urged “relevant sides to immediately stop the deployment.”
He added, without any clarification, that China would “firmly take necessary measures to uphold our interests.”
China’s disapproval is perhaps the most problematic, given the Asian behemoth’s unique role as longtime benefactor of the North Korean Kim dynasty. Beijing remains far and away the most valuable trading partner — virtually an economic lifeline — for North Korea.
President Trump and his top aides have made it clear that they want China to try to force Kim back to the negotiating table by curtailing that trade.

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