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U.S. Delivers First Elements of THAAD Missile Defense to South Korea

March 7, 2017 (EIRNS)—Under the cover of darkness, the first U.S. elements of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system arrived in South Korea last night, bringing two mobile launchers and increased political instability to the region. The timing was perfect, as, just the day before, North Korea had launched four missiles, which splashed into the Sea of Japan, providing the backdrop against which the U.S. could show how it is defending its friends in Asia. The darkness was a way to avoid the protests that have been on-going against this regional destabilization. Deploying the system quickly now, is an attempt to make it a done deal, before a new government could come in and easily cancel the deployment.

The responses to the North Korean launches were not unexpected, with the British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, calling it a "provocative action;" South Korea’s acting president, saying Seoul would swiftly deploy the U.S. anti- missile system; and the Japanese Prime Minister describing it as an "extremely dangerous action." The Guardian reports that Japan is considering either buying a U.S. THAAD system, or building its own version of the U.S Aegis ship-based system which is now deployed in the Sea of Japan.

But North Korea warned that it is the military exercises by the U.S. and South Korea that are "the most undisguised nuclear war maneuvers." In a letter to the UN Security Council the day of the tests, Ambassador Ja Song Nam said, "Consequently, the situation on the Korean peninsular is again inching to the brink of a nuclear war."

The Chinese government has been vocally objecting to the THAAD deployment for weeks, and hours after the THAAD elements arrived in South Korea, Xinhua said that "the tit-for-tat confrontation between Pyongyang and Seoul has become a sickening old play staged annually in Northeast Asia," and is crippling all of those concerned on the Korean peninsula.

Peoples Daily warned that the THAAD deployment

"will bring an arms race in the region... More missile shields of one side inevitably brings more nuclear missiles of the opposing side to break the missile shield."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said,

"[T]hese are the sort of actions that lead to a rise in tension in the region, and, of course, in this situation, traditionally, Moscow calls for restraint from all sides."