SK is still in shock ‘cos of the previous president, park geun-hye

South Korea Delays THAAD Deployment: What Next?
Michael Brady, Strategic Culture, Jun 19 2017

On Jun 5, (new) SK Pres Moon Jai-in ordered an environmental impact assessment in the area where four additional THAAD launchers were to be deployed. THAAD is a mobile system capable of hitting ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere in their final, or terminal, phase. The unexpected move has caused alarm for policy makers in Faschingstein, who are worried about Beijing’s influence on the newly elected president. THAAD is a defensive system designed to track and shoot down missiles designated for targets inside SK and throughout the region. Its primary purpose is to defend Pindosi military personnel (approximately 28,000) and SK critical infrastructure from NK missile launches. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula continue to ebb and flow as Faschingstein has requested assistance from Beijing to reign in the reclusive Kim regime. Russia and China continue to oppose the deployment. China’s Foreign Ministry spox Hua Chunying recently stated:

We have said many times before that the Pindosi deployment of THAAD not only is not beneficial for the resolution of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, it is also not good for regional stability.

The unexpected delay in fully deploying the THAAD system could result in several scenarios going forward. First, the delay could give Pindostan a window of opportunity to completely reassess its strategic posture on the peninsula. Options to execute a phased withdrawal from the region could unfold, something many experts believe would be a mistake. Secondly, the delay could embolden the NK regime to continue its furious pace of missile testing. NK has already fired 16 missiles in 10 tests in 2017. As Beijing and Faschingstein continue to squabble over how to exert pressure on NK, it is no wonder this lack of a coherent strategy will allow continued testing to occur unabated. Third, its unclear if Moon is signaling that that he is open to a fresh approach toward China/SK relations. China’s influence in the region is clearly growing, as Faschingstein continues to espouse an incoherent strategy in the region while maintaining a “Pindostan first” approach toward its decision-making process. It’s no wonder SK is weighing its options carefully with Beijing. Closer ties between the two states would benefit both nations in the long run, particularly on economic and regional security issues. Pindostan should consider SK’s decision to delay THAAD as an opportunity to withdraw from the peninsula. The cold war is long over, and Faschingstein’s ability to contain NK has failed. Allowing China to take a greater leadership role may not be such a bad thing.

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