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China fans THAAD phobia to press S. Korea: think tank

All Headlines 19:34 February 18, 2016

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- China is excessively fretting about the advanced anti-missile system South Korea and the United States are trying to deploy in the South, apparently in order to put pressure on the Northeast Asian neighbor, a mainstream think tank said Thursday.

China's missile and radar systems deployed close to the Korean Peninsula, in fact, pose greater threats than those by the looming deployment of the American missile shield THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, the Asan Institute for Policy Studies said in a commentary.

Earlier this month, South Korea and the U.S. officially kicked off the process to bring in the radar-equipped missile interception system to counter North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threats.

The North demonstrated its growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities with its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6, which it claims was a hydrogen bomb. A month later, the country launched a long-range rocket, carrying a satellite, apparently testing its intercontinental ballistic missile technology.

The alliance's counter move infuriated China, with the country's Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui reiterating opposition to the THAAD deployment earlier this week.

A day before, China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei explicitly called on the allies to "withdraw" the deployment plan, again expressing irritation over the U.S.-operated missile defense system's deployment on South Korea which is on the doorstep of the Asian superpower.

"China is now only focused on threats facing China at the cost of threats posed by North Korea," the commentary co-written by senior analysts Choi Kang and Ahn Sung-kyoo said.

"China's one-sided THAAD phobia gets in the way of countering the North Korea threat to South Korea," according to the analysis.

The Asian power is exaggerating the performance of THAAD and using it to put pressure on South Korea to discard the plan, the commentary highlighted.

China has told South Korea that it must not impair the security interests of other countries when seeking to boost its own, warning that the THAAD deployment against North Korea could add fresh threats to the third nation.

Judging from the same 'trilemma' perspective, China's host of missiles and radar deployment near its border with North Korea come as threats to the South, the think tank commentary said.

The report cited the Chinese military's missile unit in the northeast near North Korea as one example.

Some 500 missiles deployed with a rocket unit, which defends the northeast region, could turn into backup forces for the North Korean military in an emergency situation, the report said, raising the possibility that the missiles could be deployed in blocking the entry of a U.S. aircraft carrier to the region.

The commentary also highlighted that even if THAAD is deployed in South Korea, it is unlikely to track or target China's missile system as the Asian power believes.

Because the radar of a deployed THAAD will face North Korea directly at a low angle, its interception range will not cover China, it said.

The report also empathized China's strengthening surveillance capability vis-a-vis the Korean Peninsula, pointing to the neighbor's plan to introduce about 35 additional military-use BeiDou satellites by 2020, as well as the DWL-002 & YLC-20 Passive Radar system which could allow Beijing to keep track of all activities taking place over the Korean Peninsula.


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