Wednesday, June 7, 2017

South Korea Suspends Deployment Of U.S. Missile Defense System Pending An 'Environmental Review'

South China Morning Post: South Korea’s president Moon halts deployment of more THAAD missile launchers until ‘environmental impact’ probe is done

Hundreds of Seongju residents have protested over what they see as potential hazards posed by the batteries

South Korea will suspend any further deployment of a controversial US missile defence system until an environmental impact assessment ordered by new President Moon Jae-in is finished, his office said Wednesday.

Seoul agreed last year under Moon’s ousted predecessor, Park Geun-hye, to deploy the powerful missile intercept system to guard against threats from nuclear-armed North Korea despite opposition from Beijing, which views it as a threat to its own military capabilities.

Two missile launchers have been deployed in the southern county of Seongju, where hundreds of residents have staged fierce protests over what they see as potential environmental hazards posed by the batteries used in the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system.

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WNU Editor: This will be seen in North Korea as a South Korean capitulation. As for China .... they will see this as a split between South Korea and the U.S./Japan coalition, and will not feel pressured to put pressure on North Korea to roll back their missile and nuclear programs. As to what is my take .... the South Korean government got scared on the backlash against this deployment, and is now hoping for some quid-pro-quo from North Korea for this suspension. I say good luck on that.

More News On South Korea Suspending The Deployment Of The U.S. Missile Defense System Pending An 'Environmental Review'

South Korea Suspends Deployment of US Antimissile System -- New York Times
South Korea halts Thaad anti-missile system rollout -- BBC
South Korea suspends deployment of American missile defense system -- Washington Post
South Korea suspends THAAD deployment -- CNN
South Korea Suspends Missile Shield Deployment, Yonhap Says -- Bloomberg
South Korea Calls For a Halt to the Deployment of U.S. Missiles -- Time
North Korea attempts to split South Korea-US security alliance -- DW
South Korea Tries to Slow Walk THAAD -- VOA


Anonymous said...

Nah, this is to give in to his base, and reduce the amount of controversy it receives in South Korea. He won't give into China's demands - that would be suicidal for his career as a politician.. Instead, he will reduce controversy and media presence of this topic by doing the environmental probe. If people keep saying it's because of China, or if Trump calls (giving THEM something, so trump can sell it as victory at home), expect the environmental probe to be concluded surprisingly fast.

B.Poster said...


Interesting analysis. If this is correct, the US taxpayer and the US government who will be paying most of the bill for this are being used as pawns in an internal South Korean power struggle. Actually a "victory" at home for Mr. Trump would be an end to the contract for THAAD altogether and a complete redeployment of US forces in South Korea back to the US. I see no reason for Americans to continue to be caught up in a power struggle between North and South Korea all while being used as pawns by the South Korean government. they already hold us in utter contempt and disrespect in South Korea. There is no benefit in making things worse.

Publius said...

I agree with WNU editor: North Korea will see this as total capitulation. In response, the Fat Boy will increase his aggressiveness, not offer concessions.

The charitable explanation for South Korea's major, unilateral, unreciprocated concession is that they want to test whether North Korea will use this concession as a reason to de-escalate the confrontation. Sadly, I believe that North Korea will view this as weakness and will "double down" on its effort to coerce South Korea. Next look for the Fat Boy to exploit the wedge between South Korea and the USA/Japan.

I respectfully disagree with anonymous concerning China's reaction. China will also interpret this as capitulation, and will next demand that South Korea remove the THAAD missiles already deployed, all before China offers to begin to discuss what, if anything, it might do to restrain the Fat Boy.

It is hard to see this as anything other than a unmitigated, self-inflicted defeat on Japan, the USA, and, most of all, South Korea.

James said...

You better believe it. I think the US should make an announcement soon (by the weekend) that yes they will remove the THAAD system and will start removing our entire military presence from the peninsula. The reaction to such announcement would be very instructive.