CHINA TOPIX

Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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China Again Warns of Action Against THAAD; Might go Ahead with Joint Defense with Russia

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(Photo : Raytheon) THAAD's X-band AN/TPY-2 radar system.

China might join Russia in deploying the joint missile shield and land attack missiles to counter the deployment of the United States' Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to South Korea by late 2017.

In another angry announcement, China yesterday threatened to take unspecified but "necessary action" to ensure THAAD, especially its powerful radars that can see thousands of kilometers into China, doesn't compromise its national security.

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"China has made clear its stance on several occasions with regard to THAAD," said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

"Its placement on the Korean Peninsula will not resolve security issues of relevant countries, nor will it help realize denuclearization and maintain peace and stability on the peninsula."

He said the deployment "will hurt strategic and security interests of countries and undermine the strategic balance in the region... China firmly opposes it and we will take necessary measures to maintain the strategic balance," he added.

What infuriates China isn't the THAAD interceptor missiles but the powerful THAAD radar that detect and guide these missiles onto their targets. It believes, and rightly so, these radars will degrade the capabilities of its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) aimed at the continental United States (CONUS).

The radar used by THAAD is the X-band AN/TPY-2.  This has two configurations: a Terminal Mode with a range of 600 km and a Forward-Based Mode whose exact range remains secret but might be anywhere from 1,500 km to 3,000 km, according to experts.

China is worried THAAD's radar might provide early tracking data to the U.S. ballistic missile defense system, especially the Ground Based Interceptors responsible for defending CONUS, thereby degrading China's ability to hit the United States with its nuclear warhead ICBMs.

One of THAAD's missions is strengthening U.S. defenses against North Korean ballistic missile attack on CONUS.

Last July, China and Russia said they planned to establish a joint missile warning system to neutralize what they see as national security threats stemming from THAAD's radar coverage.

Russia argues the detection abilities of THAAD's radar will allow the U.S. to spy on Russian and Chinese ballistic and aerodynamic targets up to 1,500 kilometers away. From South Korea, the Americans can peer into the Russian territory and China's, as well, said the Russians.

An appropriate response to THAAD "could be the creation of a unified system of Russia and China, a sort of missile defense system," said military expert and Deputy Director of Institute of CIS countries, Vladimir Yevseyev.

China claimed THAAD would destabilize the regional security balance without achieving anything to end North Korea's nuclear program.

"The Chinese side will consider taking necessary steps to maintain national strategic security and regional strategic balance," warned China's Ministry of National Defense in June.

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