USA Starts Deploying Anti-Missile System in S.Korea

IAS Prelims 2023

USA has started deploying the first elements of its advanced anti-missile defence system in South Korea after North Korea’s test of four ballistic missiles despite opposition from China.

The four ballistic missiles fired by North Korea landed in the sea off Japan’s northwest, angering South Korea and Japan.

Japan and the U.S. confirmed that the latest North Korean missile launches were clearly against U.N. resolutions and a clear provocation against the regional and international community.

The missiles North Korea fired can reach the United States. They flew on average 1,000 km (620 miles) and reached an altitude of 260 km (160 miles).

The planned installation of the U.S. anti-missile defence system has led to a diplomatic standoff between China and South Korea.

The U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) being deployed in South Korea continues to severely bother the Chinese administration despite both South Korean and U.S. officials explicitly stating that it is there purely to defend against potential North Korean aggressions.

While THAAD is intrinsically defensive and is designed in intercept and destroy short- to medium-range missiles as they re-enter Earth’s atmosphere in their terminal phase, China sees it as a threat to its own missile forces.

A major feature of THAAD is the AN-TPY-2 radar and its associated command and control system. The radar can determine what type of missiles are being launched, be they short-, medium-, or long-range missiles.

Long-range missiles that are launched by North Korea, or say, China, toward Hawaii, or Alaska could not be intercepted by THAAD, but the radar could increase the odds of other U.S. missile defense networks successfully intercepting the missiles.

The major problem for any aggressor nation is their ability to calculate how many missiles it would take to destroy a target. THAAD now puts those calculations into disarray, taking away any confidence of an overpowering surprise attack.