Now though it appears that the US Pentagon is upgrading the radar working range of the system to reach 2,000 kms. With that much greater additional scope, the American missile system on the Korean Peninsula will be able to penetrate deep into Chinese and Russian territory. Beijing and Vladivostok are less that 1,000 kms from South Korea’s capital Seoul.
The extended missile systems being deployed by Washington on the Korean Peninsula have a disturbing resonance with similar American deployments in the eastern European countries of Romania and Poland. In the latter case, the Aegis missile system is officially said by Washington to be in defense of Europe from Iranian ballistic weapons. Moscow has dismissed those US claims as a flagrant ruse to conceal the real purpose of targeting Russian defenses.
Pentagon public relations of declaring THAAD and Aegis as being «defensive anti-missile systems» does not bear scrutiny either. For such missile «shields» act, in effect, to destabilize the existing strategic balance of forces, by giving the US side a «first-strike» capability, or at least the temptation of such, because in theory the system nullifies counter-strikes. That is, these systems are far from «defensive». As part of a concerted military arsenal, they are offensive. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly warned that the unilateral American deployment of anti-missile systems in eastern Europe is undermining regional security.
Likewise, Washington’s headlong rush to deploy THAAD in South Korea can be viewed as a dangerous military escalation in a region historically fraught with tensions. Washington’s claims that it is merely protecting its allies in Seoul and Tokyo from North Korean «aggression» are hardly convincing when the new missile system has the capability to target China and Russia as well. From China and Russia’s standpoint, the latest American move in Korea is just part of an ongoing process of offensive US military encirclement against them.
Last week, Washington provoked Beijing’s ire when it made the surprise announcement that it was dispatching an aircraft carrier strike group to the South China Sea. The USS Carl Vinson carries 60 warplanes and will be accompanied by the guided missile destroyer, USS Wayne E Meyer. That deployment is but the latest in a series of American military forces ramped up near Chinese territory under the former Obama administration and with renewed impetus by President Trump.
Washington justifies its military presence in Asia-Pacific as being in the interest of protecting international «freedom of navigation» in maritime territory disputed by China and American regional allies. But again, just like Washington’s claims of «protecting» its allies against North Korea, the use of euphemism seems intended to conceal a hidden agenda of projecting US hegemonic interests.