South Korea says NO to U.S. ABM Ring Around China
October 3, 2013 • 9:49AM

South Korean President Park Geun-hye is reported to be firm in her objection to the U.S. deployment of advanced anti-missile defense systems around China, and definitely on Korean territory.

President Park Geun-hye and President Barack Obama.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and JCS Chief Gen. Martin Dempsey visited Seoul for meetings regarding the U.S.-South Korea defense plans against North Korean threats or attacks, and for discussions of the contentious issue of transferring to Korea, in the case of war, operational control over the combined US-SK forces. An agreement on "Tailored Deterrence" against North Korea was reached, but a decision on operational control was again postponed.

However, even the conservative South Korean paper Chosun Ilbo reports that US-SK military relations are strained in regard to U.S. efforts to place advanced AMD missiles and X-band radar systems in South Korea, and expanding these systems in Japan, supposedly to guard against a North Korean attack. These systems are correctly seen in Beijing as over-kill against anthing North Korea has to offer, while being a crucial part of any U.S. military attack on China.

South Korea, writes Chosun Ilbo, "prefers the independent, low-tier missile shield it has been bolstering since 2006 by acquiring Patriot missiles and long-range early warning radar."

At a military parade held in Seoul in honor of the 60th anniversary of the US-SK alliance, President Park reiterated her policy of a "peninsular trust-building process" with the North, while maintaining a strong deterrence capacity. But, as the Korean Herald noted, Seoul has long argued that its "low-tier missile defense program to counter Pyongyang's missile threats... is different from the U.S.-led global multi-layered missile defense program, in consideration of its relations with Beijing."