The National Peace Committee of North Korea, a government front organization, published a press statement about the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea.
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is a United States Army anti-ballistic missile system which is designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach.
The syntax used is — well it’s funny, and typical of the sort of language that is a hold-over from the days of Chairman Mao and his Long March. You don’t hear that sort of foolishness coming out of modern China because it’s open to the west and to the rest of the world. The Norks, being xenophobes – for good reason, don’t know how stupid they sound. But if they opened up the place to the rest of the world, the only fat man in North Korea would be pig food, and he knows that because he grew up in Europe. So here goes:
“The gang of puppets and traitors whose destiny is hung by a thread in the wake of the impeachment of Park Geun-hye is stubbornly seeking to deploy the “THAAD” at an early date, despite strong opposition, protest, and denunciation at home and abroad.”
“As soon as it concluded a contract on 28 February to take over the Seongju Golf Course in North Gyeongsang Province — the place that has been designated as a site for “THAAD” deployment, the gang of puppets has begun to busy itself mobilizing troops of the puppet forces and the police to seal off the site and bringing in materials and equipment on a full scale for the construction of the base, while holding confabs with the US imperialist forces of aggression occupying South Korea in order to offer the site to them for “THAAD” deployment…..”
“The United States’ maneuver aimed at deploying ‘THAAD’ in South Korea at any cost is a product of its planned plot to drag the South Korean puppets into a global missile defense system (MDS) targeting neighboring big countries.”
“It is a well-known fact that the United States’ “THAAD” deployment in South Korea is fundamentally to establish an MDS in Northeast Asia and to hasten the fabrication of a triangular military alliance with the Japanese reactionaries and with the South Korean puppets….”
“At present, neighboring countries are taking counteractions on a full scale against the puppets’ “THAAD” deployment maneuver, while expressing serious concern and intense opposition. This is entirely natural.”
“A severe punishment is what is supposed to be meted out for a crime, and those who are crazy in playing with fire are doomed to be burned to death in the fire they have set….”
The statement concluded with a call to South Koreans to stop its leaders from bringing disaster on South Korea. The style and timing of this statement convey the message that the US is trying to rush the THAAD deployment against the will of the South Korean people, if only they realized the danger in which it puts them. There is still time to reverse the deployment decisions and South Koreans should do it before it is too late.
This statement purports to align North Korea’s opposition to THAAD with that of “neighboring countries”, by which North Korea means China and Russia. The pretense is that North Korea has the lead in speaking for the “neighboring big countries.”
Another Nuclear Test
At the Foreign Ministry’s press conference on 13 March, a reporter asked, “It is reported that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, i.e., North Korea) is preparing for a sixth nuclear test, the scale of which is expected to be over ten times larger than the last one. Does China know about the relevant nuclear test plan of the DPRK? How do you comment on that?
Spokesperson Hua Chunying replied, “We have taken note of the relevant report. China’s opposition against nuclear tests by the DPRK is consistent and clear-cut. Given the highly sensitive and complex situation on the Korean Peninsula, it is inadvisable to take any moves that may worsen the tensions. We hope all relevant parties can exercise calm and restraint, perform their due responsibilities and refrain from taking further provocative and escalatory moves.”
Since the Lunar New Year, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokespeople almost daily have responded to vexing questions about one or the other Korea. In late February, South Korea announced the land swap deal for the THAAD base. The Chinese criticized that as destabilizing.
When Chinese officials were holding discussions with a senior North Korean diplomat, North Korea launched the four ballistic missiles towards Japan. The Chinese criticized that as destabilizing.
Then South Korea announced the arrival of the first THAAD equipment. China was critical of that but said there was still time to reverse the decision. Then came the ouster of South Korean President Park, with the prospect that a less hardline president likely would be elected.
Just when Chinese patience with South Korea appeared about to be rewarded, the North Koreans are said to be preparing another nuclear test. Recent imagery shows significant tunneling continues at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
China and Pakistan
On 11 March, Pakistan Army Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa said that security forces were “fully prepared” to meet all security challenges to projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Chinese nationals living in Pakistan.
He made these remarks during a visit to the headquarters of the newly-created, 15,000-man Special Security Division (SSD). The SSD is charged with the “security of Chinese workers on CPEC and non-CPEC projects”.
The SSD consists of nine army battalions (9,229 personnel) and six civil armed forces wings (4,502 personnel), which have been raised at a cost of more than Rs5 billion ($47.7 million).
The division will provide security to Chinese personnel and projects throughout the country. It has been established in close collaboration with China and the two sides are also cooperating in the implementation of a multi-layered security plan.
The former Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif announced the raising of the SSD soon after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Islamabad in 2015 for the groundbreaking of CPEC projects.
Russia in Syria
On 13 March, Russia announced its five-year plan to upgrade the naval base at Tartus. When the upgrade is completed, the present naval facility will be a naval base that can accommodate a cruiser and possibly an aircraft carrier.
Context and Precedence — On 20 January, the Russians declared their agreement with Syria to upgrade the facility to a base. They signed a 49-year lease. The agreement stipulates that the upgrade will enable 11 Russian ships to be present in the harbor of Tartus at once, including nuclear-powered ships.
In return, Russia promised to send to Syria, at its request, specialists to help restore Syrian navy ships, to help organize the defense of the harbor of Tartus and to help mount search and rescue operations in Syrian waters.
Tartus is Russia’s only base outside Russian territory. Its upgrade is symptomatic of Russian intentions and aspirations to become more consequential in the affairs of the states of the Mediterranean Sea region.
Russia in Libya
Expect to see the Russian involvement in Libya following the same model that we’ve seen in Syria. The US during the period of Obamanation, abandoned the Mediterranean and the Russians are filling the void of a peace keeper in that void. Their involvement in Libya will begin with a new port facility and basing agreement. Ground troops will follow along with the navy and anti-aircraft defenses in the same way that Tartus has been.