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THAAD news met by DPRK missile launches

Updated: 2016-07-20 07:45
By Wang Qingyun and Ren Qi (China Daily)

The DPRK launched three ballistic missiles on Tuesday morning, a week after the ROK announced where it intended to set up an advanced US missile defense system.

The latest missile launches show that the Republic of Korea's decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system will undermine security on the Korean Peninsula, analysts said.

On July 13, Seoul announced it had decided with the United States to deploy the THAAD system in Seongju county, ROK, to counter threats from the DPRK.

The ROK's Joint Chiefs of Staff said two of the missiles launched by the DPRK had sufficient range to strike anywhere in the ROK, The Associated Press reported.

The DPRK, which threatened a "physical response" after the ROK and US said on July 8 they would deploy the THAAD, was reported to have fired on July 9 what appeared to be a submarine-launched missile.

Wang Junsheng, an associate researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' National Institute of International Strategy, said of the DPRK's missile launches that "the adverse effects of the deployment of the THAAD are revealing themselves".

THAAD news met by DPRK missile launches

The DPRK missiles have posed this time an "obvious threat" to the ROK, Wang said, adding that the THAAD's deployment "will only further irritate the DPRK".

Shi Yuanhua, a Fudan University researcher of China's relations with neighboring countries, said, "The launches can be viewed as the DPRK's reaction to the THAAD deployment."

But he emphasized that it is the US-ROK military drill planned for August that needs close attention, as "the DPRK reacts strongly every time the drill takes place".

Wang said the THAAD deployment will likely greatly harm Northeast Asian security by encouraging an arms race between not only the ROK and DPRK, but also other countries involved, such as China, the United States and Russia.

Yang Mian, a professor of international relations at Communication University of China, said the excuse used for the THAAD deployment is to defend against the DPRK nuclear weapons and missiles, but THAAD's radar range would also cover eastern and northeastern China and Russia's Far East, thus seriously threatening these countries' security.

Contact the writers at wangqingyun@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 07/20/2016 page3)

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