Tensions appear to be escalating over the firing of missiles towards Japan by North Korea and the US completing missile deployments in South Korea.
Given how angry Beijing gets about THAAD, you may be forgiven for thinking that the U.S. missile system, deployed to South Korea, is primarily aimed at China. However, Washington and Seoul have justified the system by saying it is necessary to defend South Korea from North Korean aggression.
With the missile system finally in place and tensions between the Koreas and China exploding again, here’s a guide to controversy.
What does this mean for the United States?
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump spoke frequently of the threat posed by North Korea and suggested he may lean on China, who he said had “total control over North Korea.”
However, since taking office in January the new U.S. president has been uncharacteristically mute on the subject matter, despite provocations from Pyongyang. This has left many North Korea-watchers to wonder what exactly his eventual policy will be.
The deployment of THAAD seems to be one of the first real moves against North Korea, though it was largely a continuation of policies undertaken by President Barack Obama. The backlash from China, however, along with various dramatic moves from North Korea, show that the situation is complicated.
Trust North Korea? Trust China? Trust Trump?