BEIJING, April 30 (Xinhua) — The possible deployment of a U.S. anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea will only undermine the regional strategic balance and inflame tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday that Washington has been talking with Seoul “for several weeks” about deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea that would be oriented to the “threat” in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and enhance South Korea’s security.
First, the “threat” from the DPRK, which has conducted four nuclear tests so far, cannot be uprooted by deploying a missile system but would be escalated.
From a historic perspective, the essence of the Korean nuclear issue is the contradictions between the DPRK and the United States.
Despite the end of the Cold War, the antagonism and mistrust between Pyongyang and Washington and that between Pyongyang and Seoul, which have been festering for a long time, cannot be eliminated in the short term. With different kinds of contradictions, the process of relieving the tensions on the Korean Peninsula has been tough.
The DPRK diplomacy has prioritized improving its relations with the United States under the precondition of safeguarding its sovereignty and basic interests.
However, due to the great disparity in strength between the DPRK and the United States, and the big difference in their asking prices, the process for Pyongyang and Washington to compromise and improve their ties is expected to be slow and thorny.
The DPRK’s developing nuclear weapons is not aimed at starting an arms race with the United States, but at adding bargaining chips for negotiations.
Against such a backdrop, it is counterproductive to deploy a missile system to solve an issue which can be peacefully solved through dialogue and negotiations.
There is still an opportunity to resume the Six-Party Talks, a multilateral mechanism that aims to solve the Korean nuclear issue, which has stalled since late 2008.
Besides, following the DPRK’s fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and the long-range rocket launch a month later, the United Nations Security Council on March 2 unanimously approved Resolution 2270, imposing the latest round of sanctions against the DPRK.
Second, deploying the missile system will harm the interests of China and Russia — two key parties in the region and the Six-Party Talks.
Both China and Russia think the plan far exceeds South Korea’s actual defense needs, and will directly threaten the strategic security of the two countries, as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi put it on Friday.
The U.S. move was even dismissed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as a “pretext” for its military build-up in the region.
In fact, the U.S. meddling in the affairs of other regions such as the South China Sea and the Middle East, which seems to be related to the great influence of arms merchant groups on its policy-making, is the root cause of regional instability.
As a close neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, China will never allow war or chaos on the peninsula, as this serves nobody’s interests. It is advisable that all related parties, including the United States, exercise restraint, make joint efforts to realize the denuclearization of the peninsula and thus protect peace and stability in Northeast Asia.