Korean Political Reshuffle Could Derail US Defense Plans

17-Dec-2016 Intellasia | Dailycaller | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A possible pick for South Korea’s next president wants to put plans for a US missile shield on hold.

Moon Jae-in, a former leader of the liberal Minjoo Party and a leading presidential contender should Park Geun-hye and her conservative Saenuri Party be ousted over the president’s alleged involvement in an influence-peddling scandal, wants to delay plans for the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Seongju until a new president takes office.

“It is inappropriate for the THAAD deployment process to go on under the current political circumstances,” he explained during a press conference Thursday.

“[The Ministry of National Defense's] plan to complete the THAAD deployment by May next year must be reconsidered,” Ki Dong-min, a spokesman for the Minjoo Party in the National Assembly, said Tuesday. “It is not the kind of matter that a ‘government impeached by the people’ should push ahead with. The government should pass the ball to the next one to come.”

The liberal Minjoo Party tends to favour engagement with North Korea and often balances between the US and China.

The US and South Korea agreed this year to deploy THAAD in South Korea next year to counter the looming North Korean nuclear threat; however, the controversial decision has received strong criticism from China, as well as people who live near the deployment site.

Washington, D.C., argues that the planned THAAD deployment in South Korea, which was officially confirmed last month, is to protect the US and its allies from missile threats emanating from North Korea.

For China, THAAD’s X-band radar is the primary concern. China fears that it will allow the US to peer into Chinese territory, collect data on strategic weaponry, and cripple China’s nuclear deterrent.

North Korea has also criticised the plans for THAAD, vowing to engulf Seoul in a “sea of fire.”

Moon proposed renegotiating the deal, but promised that he would maintain close ties with the US should he be elected president.



Category: Korea

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