BEIJING, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) — The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) reportedly fired a ballistic missile Wednesday morning. The launch, if proven to be true, would be a new violation against UN resolutions, but it also deserves deeper thinking at a time when regional security is in peril.
The launch, already the third missile fired by the DPRK after Washington and Seoul announced their decision on July 8 to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile shield in South Korea, could easily be interpreted as a protest against the planned installation of the system.
It also serves a reminder to policymakers in Seoul that by allowing THAAD deployment, South Korea is putting the cart before the horse in their pursuit of national security, as the key to security lies in good neighborly and friendly relations with its neighbors, rather than a bunch of U.S.-made missiles.
Seoul's decision to host a battery of the U.S. global missile defense system has triggered massive protests in the country, threatening to rip apart the society.
The Washington-Seoul agreement also drew criticism from China and Russia as the X-band radar of the system could easily snoop on the territories of the two countries.
Considering strong opposition from both the domestic front and neighboring countries, and the fact that the THAAD system is useless against low-altitude missiles from the North, it would be wise for South Korean decision makers to give a second thought.
As many analysts and geopolitical pundits have pointed out, the deployment of THAAD fulfills U.S. intention to sustain its military supremacy in the region, rather than the declared purpose of protecting South Korea from nuclear and missile threats from its northern neighbor.
Regarding Seoul's security predicament with Pyongyang, the system could only make it worse, as testified by what happened Wednesday.
Achieving lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula is no easy task, but Seoul should know better than simply giving nod to whatever Washington proposes.
Northeast Asia faces better prospects for peace without THAAD. If Seoul is not moved by pleas of its own citizens, or persuaded by China and Russia, it should at least take heed of the launch and rethink: Does THAAD really make it safer?