The U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in South Korea.
The system is known as THAAD, and is intended to guard against North Korean missiles.
But the move is angering Beijing, who say the system shows South Korea is now in the U.S./Japan missile defense alliance, which defends against not only North Korea, but also China.
China is particularly angry over the radar system that accompanies THAAD, which the Chinese say will give the U.S. unprecedented surveillance capabilities, allowing the Pentagon to observe Chinese missile tests deep within the Mainland.
“We’ve been very clear in our conversations with China that this is not meant to be a threat and is not a threat to them or any other power in the region. It is a defensive system and it is in place or will be in place because of North Korea’s provocative behavior.” – Mark Toner, State Department Spokesman said.
North Korea recently launched several missiles into the Sea of Japan.
“The reason we’re pursuing this with South Korea is because of North Korea’s bad behavior, that they continue to carry out exercises, or tests, that frankly not only threaten the stability of the Korean Peninsula, but the region, and even the national security of the United States of America.” – Mark Toner, State Department Spokesman said.
Despite reassurances, the issue is causing friction between South Korea and China, with China banning mainland travel agencies from sending tour groups to South Korea.
This has caused controversy in South Korea, because China is South Korea’s largest trading partner.