Beijing out of controlChina is vehemently opposing the recent deployment of four additional launchers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) missile shield in Seongju County, South Korea. Following the Chinese foreign ministry’s strong complaint to the South Korean Ambassador to Beijing, Kim Jang-soo, in a face-to-face meeting on Wednesday, its spokesman Geng Shuang urged Korea to withdraw the Thaad deployment.
The Chinese media’s beating up on Korea went a step further. We seriously wonder how our relations could plummet to this level after building mutual trust over the past 25 years after the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992. Our embassy in Beijing even sent a warning to Koreans living in China to be careful about their security.
In the front lines of China’s “Korea-bashing” is the Global Times, the belligerent English tabloid published under the auspices of the Communist Party of China. In a nationalist editorial on Thursday, the state mouthpiece mounted an attack on Korea. After defining Korean conservatives as supporters of the U.S. antimissile system, the newspaper ridiculed them, saying they probably ate too much kimchi.
The paper also said that conservative groups in Korea and people eager to possess nuclear weapons in Korea are two sides of the same coin.
The paper went so far as to warn that Koreans had better pray for world peace after building more Buddhist temples and Christian churches because it will become a strategic target of China and Russia. It implied that a certain area of Korea will be hit first — and become the center of disaster — once a war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula. That hints at the possibility of Seongju, the Thaad site, being struck first at times of crisis.
The Chinese media didn’t run any commentaries with critical perspectives even after North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test, allegedly of a hydrogen bomb, which could dramatically change the security situation on the peninsula. But all of a sudden, they are enthusiastically inciting the Chinese people to oppose the Thaad installation.
Do birds of a feather really flock together? We are disappointed at Beijing’s reiteration of its argument that the Thaad battery is aimed at spying on China, which is totally not true. Coping with the North Korean nuclear threat is a matter of survival for South Korea and the government decided to deploy the full battery to safeguard our security. Mocking and blackmailing Korea is not worthy of a great nation like China.
JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 8, Page 34