Mad about THAAD and other China problems

Tensions appear to be escalating over the firing of missiles towards Japan by North Korea and the US completing missile deployments in South Korea.

Washington Post:

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.

See it at Why China is so mad about THAAD, a missile defense system aimed at deterring North Korea

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?

Korea, USA, nukes

South Korea and Japan in particular are likely to be increasingly nervous about what two unpredictable leaders might do as North Korea ramps up provocations against the US.

Stuff: ‘Inching to the brink of a nuclear war’: North Korea says missile launch was training for attack on US’s Japan bases

North Korea has warned that US-South Korean military exercises are driving the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia toward “nuclear disaster”.

The reclusive state fired four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan’s northwest on Monday (NZT), angering South Korea and Japan.

Kim Jong Un supervised the test launches which were by an army unit commissioned with attacking US military bases in Japan, the country’s state media said on Tuesday (NZT).

The launches were a training exercise for a strike on those bases, it said.

The North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song Nam, said in a letter to the UN Security Council hours after the missiles were launched that the US-South Korea exercises were the “the most undisguised nuclear war manoeuvres”.

“It may go over to an actual war,” Ja warned of the military drills, “and, consequently, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is again inching to the brink of a nuclear war”.

How will Donald Trump respond to provocations like this?

Hopefully he will stick to pushing buttons on his Twitter rather than anywhere else.