China angrily denounced the beginning of America’s THAAD deployment to South Korea on Tuesday, vowing “consequences” for both Washington and Seoul as the anti-missile system comes online.
Meanwhile, North Korea demonstrated the need for THAAD protection by declaring its most recent missile test was a dry run for attacking a U.S. military base in Japan.
Reuters reports deployment of the system in South Korea began on Tuesday after North Korea’s provocative missile launches, which were supposedly overseen by dictator Kim Jong-un in person.
“Continued provocative actions by North Korea, to include yesterday’s launch of multiple missiles, only confirm the prudence of our alliance decision last year to deploy THAAD to South Korea,” said U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris.
“The launches are consistent with North Korea’s long history of provocative behavior. The United States stand with our allies in the face of this very serious threat. The Trump administration is taking steps to enhance our ability to defend against North Korea’s ballistic missiles, such as through the deployment of a THAAD battery to South Korea,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
North Korean media announced that its launch of four banned ballistic missiles on Monday was a training exercise for attacking “the bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces in Japan in contingency.”
Three of the four missiles landed within 200 miles of the Japanese coast, after flying an average of 620 miles at an altitude of 160 miles, according to Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada.
“Japan and the U.S. confirmed that the latest North Korean missile launches were clearly against U.N. resolutions and a clear provocation against the regional and international community,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, adding the North Korean threat has “entered a new phase.”
President Trump reportedly discussed the missile launches with both Abe and South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn on Tuesday. The United States and Japan have called for a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday to discuss North Korea’s missile launches. Also, the U.S. and South Korea indicated they will not cancel the military exercises that routinely anger North Korea.
Unmoved by North Korea’s provocations, China repeated its strong opposition to the deployment of an American missile shield in South Korea.
“China firmly opposes the deployment of THAAD. We will definitely be taking necessary measures to safeguard our own security interest. All consequences entailed from that will be borne by the U.S. and (South Korea). We once again strongly urge the relevant sides to stop the process of deployment and refrain from going further down that wrong path,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, as reported by Fox News.
Fox noticed retired Chinese general Lo Yuan musing in the Communist Global Times that China could use a “surgical hard-kill operation” to destroy the American missile shield and said his government “does not need to be a gentleman on everything.”
The Chinese are enraged at the Lotte Group, a South Korean retail corporation that contributed one of its golf courses to host the THAAD missile system. According to the Global Times, Chinese “netizens” are eager to boycott Lotte shops in protest, while various Chinese companies are launching a boycott of South Korean partnerships.
“We are withdrawing our products from Lotte Mart’s stores in China gradually, and we will not cooperate with Lotte anymore,” declared Chinese snack maker Weilong.
However, the Global Times was willing to credit Lotte Group with “offering deep kindness to China” through its investments and to dismiss reports that Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin referred to Chinese protesters as “Philistines” who “lack courage and integrity.”