October 12, 2016

WELL, GOOD: White House Sending THAAD to ROK As “Soon As Feasible”

The US military is to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) counter missile battery to the Republic of Korea (RoK) as quick as possible, the White House said on 10 October in response to an official protest.

“The United States is working with the RoK to deploy this system as soon as feasible in order to more safely defend our RoK ally and US military personnel deployed to the region from the North Korea nuclear and ballistic missile threat,” read the statement. A written petition decrying the deployment, created in July, garnered enough signatures (more than 100,000) to warrant a response.

The petition called the looming THAAD deployment “a controversial move that will likely … escalate tension in the region, by provoking North Korea, China, and Russia into a spiralling arms race in the region that is already heavily militarised”.

THAAD is a purely defensive weapon which can only shoot down hostile missiles after they’ve been fired. Its presence in South Korea might be politically uncomfortable for Pyongyang and Beijing, but THAAD makes a North Korean first strike less inviting and ought to reduce military tensions in the region.

Kudos to the Obama Administration for making the right call.

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