Of What are they Afraid?

The People’s Republic of China has been vociferously objecting to the US deploying a missile defense system—THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense)—in the Republic of Korea, with the RoK’s blessing and at their behest.  The PRC has begun taking economic retaliatory actions against the RoK and threatening the Koreans and us with further, more serious action if we don’t desist.

So my question.

Ankit Panda, writing for The Diplomat, offered some thoughts last week, one of which centers on the PRC’s concern that the THAAD deployment, relying as it does on a particular radar system—two of which already are deployed in Japan—would let the US degrade a PRC second nuclear strike against the US.  To be clear: a second strike is an ability of one nation to respond to another nation’s (first) nuclear strike with a nuclear strike of its own, the second strike of an exchange.

Since it doesn’t matter that THAAD is incapable of intercepting the PRC’s ICBMs en route to the US, and the US has no offensive interest in the PRC (and not to put too fine a point on it, neither do the RoK or Japan, and neither of them have a nuclear capability even were they offensive minded), I have to wonder why the PRC objects so harshly to a nation having the capability to defend itself against a rogue nation, gang-run, that’s bent on developing nuclear missiles of intermediate and intercontinental range.  Especially when that same rogue nation constantly threatens Armageddon against the RoK.

Especially when that rogue nation is a client of the PRC.

As Panda put it,

To avoid the need for a massive nuclear build-up and to feel comfortable with its several hundred or so nuclear warheads for targeting, China needs to feel comfortable enough its intercontinental ballistic missiles can reliably penetrate US antiballistic missile countermeasures.

Just what are the Warring State PRC’s plans vis-à-vis the US?

What are the Warring State’s plans, via its madchild-run client, vis-à-vis the RoK?

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