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THAAD deployment threatens regional stability


08-02-2016 14:20 BJT

Full coverage: THAAD Deployment in South Korea

Alongside criticism over the THAAD deployment from inside South Korea, some believe that the installation of the anti-missile system could also damage the stability of the Korean Peninsula. Tensions have been escalating in the region as neighboring countries prepare to face down threats from the THAAD deployment. The decision to install the system has also created a diplomatic dilemma for Seoul.

The system is designed to track and shoot down missiles at altitudes of up to 150 kilometers. But experts say missiles from the DPRK normally fly at low altitudes, meaning the THAAD system might be unable to intercept them.

The deployment could also present a diplomatic dilemma for Seoul, given that it has sought to enhance its strategic partnership with China. Beijing is its crucial partner for trade, tourism and efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

China and Russia voiced serious concern at a meeting in Moscow on security in northeast Asia last Thursday. They say the deployment would negatively affect the strategic balance of the region and the world.

"We together with China, are forcefully opposed to the deployment of THAAD, because it will upset and break the global military balance of power. The system is the first weapon of its kind in South Korea. It boasts new military technology and new features. It may trigger an arms race -- forcing Russia and China to take measures to deal with the situation -- and creating a long-term adverse trend," said Alexander Vorontsov, Head of DPRK & Mongolia Division, Inst. of Oriental Studies.

The US Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning is expected to visit the army unit picked to operate the THAAD system. Along with his visit, protests continue in South Korea, though there's very slim hope that the concerns of Seonju residents can be addressed.

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