South Korea experts criticize Seoul’s THAAD decision

SEOUL, July 14 (UPI) — South Korean experts this week voiced concerns about a government decision to deploy the U.S.-made THAAD anti-missile defense system in the country.

Choi Jong-kun, a professor of political science at Yonsei University, criticized the way the policy was being handled, local newspaper Hankyoreh reported Thursday.

“What does it mean when a decision on THAAD placement is announced, even before a [placement] review is completed by the U.S.-South Korea joint working committee?” Choi asked at a panel on THAAD held by the minor opposition People’s Party.

Choi also said the government’s position on THAAD’s ability to defend South Korea should be questioned because announcements are being made without conclusively establishing “operating concepts” and “site settings.”

Cheong Seong-chang, an analyst at South Korea’s Sejong Institute, said the decision to deploy THAAD will have an adverse effect on Seoul’s relations with Beijing.

China has repeatedly opposed the deployment of THAAD in the region, and Cheong said Seoul’s charm offensive could take a blow.

Beijing has said it is concerned the system could be used for regional surveillance that could expand on the U.S. policy of a “Pivot to Asia.”

China-South Korea relations may even fall to a historical low, and Seoul’s relations with Moscow could follow a similar trajectory, Cheong said Thursday.

“The country to most like the worsened relations between South Korea and China is North Korea,” Cheong said.

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