Is North Korea Enabling THAAD Missile System Deployment Against China?

The Pukguksong-2 pictured during a test on February 12, 2017 (Photo: KCNA).
The Pukguksong-2 pictured during a test on February 12, 2017 (Photo: KCNA).

Is Pyongyang conducting missile tests to enable the delivery of the THAAD missile system and “grease the skids” in South Korea? – Ann

The Pukguksong-2 pictured during a test on February 12, 2017 (Photo: KCNA).
The Pukguksong-2 pictured during a test on February 12, 2017 (Photo: KCNA).

Today North Korea reportedly launched a Pukguksong-2 missile (KN-15– which was defined by the South as a solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) using technology related to its submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), according to NK News. The South Korean military reported that the missile was launched from north of Pyongyang.

“The type of missile is being assessed and the flight was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile,” USPACOM said in a statement.

According to NK News, “South Korean President Moon Jae-in presided over a National Security Council (NSC) at 0800 KST for 20 minutes, less than three hours after Pyongyang launched the missile.”

“Moon said the South Korean government ‘strongly condemned’ the missile launch.

” ‘We voice deep concern and strictly warn against North Korea’s reckless provocation given that it (launched) only a few days after the new government was launched,’ Yoon Young-chan, Senior Secretary to the President for Public Relations, told media, quoting Moon as saying.”

“[The launch] is a flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a serious challenge to the peace and security on the Korean peninsula and the international community.”

“But the new South Korean president said the South still embraced the possibility of inter-Korean dialogue.”

“ ‘We should firmly respond to a provocation so that the North will not make a misjudgment,’ Moon said at the NSC meeting.”

“ ‘Even if dialogue is possible, we should show that it is possible only in case of the North showing a change of attitude. ‘ ”

” Moon also urged the South Korean military to maintain ‘full-readiness.’ ”

“U.S. Pacific Command is fully committed to working closely with our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies to maintain security, ” USPACOM also said in their statement.  “The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.

The issues with this test seem to revolve around the recent deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense or THAAD missile defense system in South Korea and the continued military exercises aimed at China and North Korea.

According to Voice of America in a May 11 article, US, Allies’ Military Drills Send Message to China, N. Korea, “Troops from the U.S., Japan and two European nations are gathering on remote U.S. islands in the Pacific for drills they say will show support for the free passage of vessels in international waters amid fears China could restrict movement in the South China Sea.

“The drills around Guam and Tinian may also send a message to North Korea about the U.S. commitment to the region and the breadth of its allies.”

The THAAD Missile System’s deployment in South Korea has been an issue of tension between China, the US and South Korea as China views the system as a threat to its military operations.



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