In a sharp reversal of policy, South Korea's president Moon Jae-in ordered talks on Saturday morning to consider permitting more units in the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, deployed by the United States military. Later reports indicate that additional THAAD units have been approved. Four additional launchers will be deployed, in addition to the two launchers that have already been deployed. South Korea's previous conservative president, Park Geun-hye, approved the initial deployment, scheduled for the end of 2017. However, the schedule was speeded up for two reasons, because of North Korea's aggressive development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and because polls indicated that Park would lose the presidential election. For that reason, the first THAAD units began deployment in March. China reacted furiously to the deployment, even though THAAD is a purely defensive weapon, whose purpose is to knock incoming missiles out of the sky.
However, THAAD comes with an extremely powerful radar system that would give the US early warning of a surprise Chinese missile attack on the US, which would reduce China's ability to launch a surprise missile attack. So China retaliated harshly against South Korea, banning South Korean goods for sale in China, banning South Korean pop stars and entertainers, and banning travel agencies from selling packaged tours to South Korea.
At times like this I always like to respond to the commonly held belief that there won't be a war because war is bad for business. If that were true, there would never be any wars. Actually, the opposite is true: If two countries have a trading and business relationship, then trade becomes just another weapon of war, as we're seeing in this case.
President Moon Jae-in is far more liberal than his predecessor, and when he took office in May, he put a hold on further THAAD deployment, and also announced that he would seek peace negotiations with North Korea.
North Korea has completely rejected the peace negotiations, and repudiated them with even more aggressive ballistic missile development.
So Moon has now reportedly approved another set of THAAD launchers.
The THAAD system is deployed in southern Korea. According to analysts, it won't prevent a North Korean missile strike on South Korea's capital city, Seoul, which is only a few miles from the North Korean border, but THAAD will provide protection for southern Korea. This is important because in the case of a new Korean war, American troops would enter from the south, and so THAAD would provide protection for them.... Yonhap News (Seoul) and Reuters