China warns South Korea that deploying THAAD missile system would trigger a Cold War-like arms race

Thaad missile lockheedLockheed MartinA THAAD anti-missile system.

A Chinese ambassador has warned South Korea that the deployment of a US anti-missile system against North Korea would destroy the flourishing ties between the two countries.

Chinese Ambassador Qiu Guohong warned Kim Chong-in, the chairman of South Korea’s main opposition party, that the basing of the US-made THAAD missile system in South Korea would irreparably damage relations between the countries, The Chosunilbo reports.

“Much effort has been made to develop bilateral ties to today’s level, but these efforts could be destroyed in an instant with a single problem,” Qiu warned Kim on Tuesday.

Qiu also warned Kim, during their 45 minute meeting, that the deployment of the US missile system would lead to an arms race in East Asia that would ultimately be to the detriment of all nations involved.

The THAAD deployment, Qiu said, “would break the strategic balance in the region and create a vicious cycle of Cold War-style confrontations and an arms race, which could escalate tensions.”

The US and South Korea have reportedly worked out a deal in which Washington will provide Seoul with the ant-missile system. The THAAD is the most advanced missile system on the planet, and is able to intercept missiles with a 100% success rate.

The deployment of the THAAD system would be aimed at North Korea in order to provide protection for South Korea, Japan, and US assets from potential North Korean ballistic missiles. However, China opposes the placement of the missiles in South Korea as it believes that the anti-missile system would also be used against Chinese and Russian interests.

“I do not deny the fact that THAAD would play a role in protecting [South] Korea, but it will inevitably target China and Russia,” Qiu said on Tuesday.

Hypothetically, the THAAD system could indeed be used against Chinese missiles in South Korea. However, the deployment of the weapon system will be angled in such a way as to protect Seoul from North Korea without targeting China at all.

The following graphic shows a likely placement of the THAAD system in South Korea:

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