Washington "finishes" Seoul
The statement by the new South Korean defense minister, Han Min Gu, about the readiness to deploy elements of the American missile defense system in the country was perceived in Moscow, Beijing and, of course, in Pyongyang with undisguised surprise and alarm.
Of course, the implementation of this plan has traditionally been explained by the need to protect against North Korea, especially since Pyongyang in recent months has conducted several exercises with rocket firing, the progress of which was observed by the “young commander” Kym Chen Un. However, according to calculations by South Korean intelligence officers, North Korea’s getting used to missile launches has long been used to it: it was only in February-July of this year that the Juche idea launched more than 2500 rockets of eight modifications. But in June, the then Minister of Defense of the Republic of Korea, Kim Gwan Jin, assured his parliamentarians without a shadow of a doubt that, despite the pressure of overseas hegemons, Seoul did not plan to purchase and deploy land-based mobile anti-missile complexes for high-altitude interception of medium-range missiles . Moreover, just a couple of days before the high-profile statement by Han Min Gu, during the strategic consultations between the Chinese and South Korean military, an agreement was reached on expanding cooperation in the field of defense.
Smolensk Square promptly responded to an unexpected South Korean demarche.
In the comments of the Russian Foreign Ministry it was noted that "such a development will inevitably have a negative impact on the strategic situation in the region, could provoke an arms race in Northeast Asia, and create additional complications for solving the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula." Predictably harshly reacted in Beijing, although they tried to limit themselves to expressing their outrage only during bilateral meetings of diplomats.
The fact is that the South Koreans had previously tried to publicly distance themselves from the realization of the blue dream of the Pentagon - placing the missile defense system on the peninsula. Seoul persistently reiterated that he would limit himself to creating his own system against a possible rocket attack from the northern neighbor. Moreover, part of the missile shield was to be based on the Cholme air defense system developed by Russia, the Iron Mace, the experience of which allowed us to create a new C-350 complex. Another component is the South Korean destroyers with the Aegis system. Seoul has consistently adhered to this line over the past few years, despite the fact that adherents of a close alliance with Washington have firmly established themselves in power in South Korea since 2008.
The reappraisal of values is connected with the arrival of the new head of the South Korean "Pentagon", who, with the directness of the regular military and voiced the new plans for Seoul. Obviously, it is not only and not so much the personal approach of Han Ming Gu himself. Given that, according to some reports, he took a course in the United States and in 2011, he was awarded the American Order For Military Merit. Yes, and the position is obliged to closely interact with American colleagues.
The thing is different. A trilateral meeting - the USA-Japan-South Korea-meeting in Honolulu should be considered as a starting point. To organize such a meeting is not an easy task.
The point is the unusual hostility, which still, despite all the efforts of Washington, exists between Tokyo and Seoul.
In long history I will not go in, it is enough just to say: after Tokyo recently announced that it was revising the country's basic law and allowing the armed forces to participate in military operations abroad, this antipathy intensified to the extreme.
The United States is vital to act as a kind of matchmaker for Tokyo and Seoul, there is no other way to put together a military alliance in Northeast Asia to counter Beijing. At the same time, Washington’s flirting with China in the economic and political spheres is not excluded, but the main role is assigned to the military containment of “Chinese expansion”.
On the other hand, for Seoul, dancing to the tune of the USA means serious complications in relations with Beijing. Recall: over the past few years, China has become the main economic partner of South Korea, the volume of trade last year amounted to about 250 billion dollars. The similar figures with the Americans at Seoul are almost two times lower. Due to the relative proximity of cultures, and even geographical proximity, the volume of tourist exchanges increases from year to year.
So to tear off Seoul from Beijing for the United States is a priority task.
There is nothing to do with economic methods here, as already mentioned, interaction with the Chinese is much more profitable for South Korea than partnership with the United States. Moreover, traditional exhortations on the theme “We are close allies, we were the ones who saved South Korea from defeat during the Korean War” have no chance of success. However, the White House has much more effective leverage, which he demonstrated. Otherwise, how can we explain the departure of Minister of Defense Kim Kwang Jin to another post. And this movement is fully consistent with the interests of Washington. Apparently, it was not for nothing that President Park Geun-hye, as the North Korean press sarcastically noted at the time, secretly visited the American embassy in Seoul more than once before the elections.
It is clear that the agreement of Seoul to deploy the American missile defense system causes a negative reaction in Beijing. After all, to contain the missile ambitions of the DPRK, South Korea’s already available means are quite enough. And the new complexes, which may appear in the South of the peninsula, are intended, first of all, to intercept ballistic missiles launched from the eastern regions of China and aimed specifically at the United States. The appearance of elements of the American missile defense system and North Korea in the south will not be happy at this. With numerous missile launches this year, they are trying to show their determination to "go to the end", regardless of the reaction of the world community.
Russia, with its well-known position on the US global missile defense system, is also not thrilled with the drastically changed position of South Korea. But today we are tied to Seoul in the implementation of trilateral projects in North Korea. Let us recall at least the recent opening ceremony of the pier in the port of Rajin, in which South Korean representatives participated.
It is important for us that in Seoul they would not succumb to the entreaties of the Americans to join the sanctions against our country. And the fact that such attempts are being made is not a secret to anyone.
Recently, a high-ranking representative of the US State Department visited South Korea, who was testing the position of his partners. While in Seoul do not show intention to follow the advice from Washington, but the pressure will only increase.
So while we confine ourselves to verbal suggestions. However, it is possible that as we move forward in implementing the plan to deploy the US missile defense system in South Korea or join the sanctions, Russia will be obliged to take a reciprocal step. It is possible that Moscow will coordinate its actions with Pyongyang to some extent or another.
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