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China opposes THAAD missile system in South Korea

Date: 31 May 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

China has issued a statement reiterating its long-standing objections to the presence of the US THAAD missile defence system in South Korea. 

 

Background

China has been objecting to the defence system since it was first deployed in South Korea three year ago, causing a deterioration in ties between the two countries.

 

Details

  • THAAD is an acronym for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, a transportable, ground-based missile defense system.

  • THAAD is coupled with space-based and ground-based surveillance stations, which transfer data about the incoming missile and informs the THAAD interceptor missile of the threat type classification. THAAD is alarmed about incoming missiles by space-based satellites with infrared sensors.

  • This anti-ballistic missile defense system has been designed and manufactured by the US company Lockheed Martin. South Korea is not the only country with the THAAD missile defense system. It has been previously deployed in the UAE, Guam, Israel and Romania.

  • In South Korea, the THAAD missile defense system is operated by the US army stationed in the country. The US had previously announced that the deployment of this missile defense system was a countermeasure against potential attacks by North Korea.

  • China’s opposition has little to do with the missiles itself and is more about the system’s inbuilt advanced radar systems that could track China’s actions.

  • China believes the US exerts influence over South Korea and Japan and may interfere with Beijing’s long-term military, diplomatic and economic interests in the region.

  • When the controversy first arose in 2017, China had hit South Korea economically. South Korean businesses, including large conglomerates like LG, Lotte and Samsung. These included the shutting down of institutions and enterprises that had little to do with the defence and military, like golf courses and shopping malls.

  • Post this development in 2017, tourism from China to South Korea fell drastically. Many Chinese tourists who are fans of Korean entertainment travel to South Korea, the tourism industry contributes significantly to South Korea’s economy.

  • South Korea’s entertainment industry witnessed concerts, shows and other commercial ventures in China by K-pop stars being forced to cancel as a result of this controversy.

  • South Korean cosmetics and beauty products that are extremely popular in China also witnessed their sales being impacted, due to calls on social media to boycott South Korean products.

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