23 March 2018


Seoul and Washington in favour of missile shield opposed by Beijing, Moscow and the Korean Church

Mattis and South Korea’s acting president reiterated the need for the THAAD anti-missile system. For the Chinese, Trump is strengthening the US presence in Northeast Asia. Catholic Church is against turning the Korean peninsula into the focus of a new cold war.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – Seoul (AsiaNews) – The new US defence secretary, James Mattis, and Acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn reaffirmed on Thursday their resolve to deploy the anti-ballistic Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system in South Korea to counter North Korea’s nuclear programme.

Mattis’ two-day trip to South Korea, which will end today and be followed by a stop in Japan, is designed to get US allies to spend more on regional defence.

The THAAD, which costs 800 million US dollars per weapon, provides high-altitude radar monitoring and "automatic response" against threats, but has been immediately opposed by China, Russia and the Korean Catholic Church.

Beijing and Moscow are concerned that the monitoring on the peninsula is also directed at them. Russia, in addition, fears an escalation of tension between the two Koreas, with unpredictable actions from Pyongyang.

“While Trump’s ‘America first’ pledge may lead to US retreat from many of the world’s affairs, he is going to strengthen the US presence in Northeast Asia,” said Cui Zhiying, Director of the Korean Peninsula Research Centre at Tongji University.

The Korean Catholic Church has long opposed THAAD, which could transform the peninsula into "the centre of a new Cold War".

On 15 July 2016, in an official statement, the bishops reiterated that "peace is never achieved with weapons but through faith." For this reason, they asked South Korean authorities to drop the THAAD system and their North Korean counterparts to halt their nuclear enrichment.

In addition, the bishops called for greater joint economic development opportunities between the two Koreas. The path, they wrote, is not via "military pressure" but through "dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation."

See also

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Kim Jong-un speaks (for the first time), greets South Koreans
The young dictator speaks at the centennial celebration of his grandfather's birth. He follows up his "greetings to our compatriots in South Korea and across the world who dedicate themselves to reunification and the prosperity of the nations" with the usual militaristic propaganda, adding however that North Koreans will "never again tighten their belts".

29/02/2008 NORTH KOREA
Clapton invitation means Kim Jong-il has chosen his heir
Kim Jong-chul is the chosen one. First son from the Dear Leader’s fourth marriage, he is said to love the music of the American guitar player. Since last year he is deputy chairman of a leadership division of the Korean Workers' Party, the same post his father had before taking over.

15/04/2011 NORTH KOREA
Kim Jong-un staking succession on the ‘Day of the Sun’
Kim Jong-il’s third son is the heir designate to the throne of Pyongyang, but has not yet received the official investiture, which he desperately needs. After sponsoring real estate developments, he is betting his future on following in the footsteps of his grandfather Kim Il-sung, whose birthday today it is, in order to convince the people that he is different from his father and that he can save them from destruction.

14/02/2017 19:02:00 KOREA
Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam murdered

Two North Korean female agents apparently poisoned the victim at Kuala Lumpur airport. He was living in exile since 2001. Heir apparent to Kim Jong-il, he hoped to see the fall of Kim Jong-un’s regime with him as successor. The case appears to be another dynastic murder.

13/10/2010 NORTH KOREA – CHINA
Beijing to protect Kim Jong-il’s first-born
Kim Jong-nam, the deal leader’s first son, fell from grade in 2001 and now lives in Macau. In recent days, he criticised the regime’s dynastic succession, causing the ire of his brother Kim Jong-un, official heir to North Korea’s dictator.

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