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On March 6, the United States' Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system arrived at Osan Air Base in South Korea. It was four months ahead of schedule.
That same day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated to Washington reporters that the United States' THAAD deployment was a necessary step taken in order to "defend [South Korea] against North Korea's ballistic missiles."
Indeed, that's what THAAD was built to do - defend. Specifically, the system detects and targets short- and mid-range missiles.
But there's a problem with Uncle Sam's "defense" promises surrounding THAAD...
You see, the system won't actually protect most South Korean lives.
Nor will it protect American citizens.
The reason: It just can't.
Here's how we know, plus more on THAAD's real purpose in the South Korean Peninsula...
THAAD Wasn't Built to Counter Typical North Korean Missiles
There are a couple mathematical explanations for THAAD's inability to save the lives of most South Koreans from Pyongyang's missiles...
First, the defense system "is designed to work at higher altitudes, higher than 45 kilometers. But most North Korean missiles [that would target South Korea] are short-range missiles that would fly below 45 kilometers," JJ Suh, professor of politics and international affairs at International Christian University in Japan, told Korea Exposé on March 29.
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On top of THAAD's inability to accurately detect and target low-flying missiles, there's a problem with the system's protective range as well...
THAAD would not be able to defend the South Korean capital city of Seoul, reported The National Interest - a foreign policy nonprofit site - on May 15. That's because Seoul - the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the world - lies just outside THAAD's 200-kilometer interceptor range.
You heard that right - the "state-of-the-art" missile defense system won't even protect the country's capital.
What Can We Expect from North Korea in 2017?
"THAAD would not be able to shoot down a North Korean missile test or an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) heading for the U.S. homeland," The National Interest added. "THAAD can only engage missiles as they fall back down to earth. If a missile is falling within the engagement range of THAAD's interceptors... it is attacking South Korea."
That is to say, the THAAD system will have no effect on any missile strikes aimed at U.S. soil.
So, with all these technical restrictions in mind, what can THAAD do?
THAAD Protects Soldiers, Not Citizens
"It's more plausible that the U.S. military wants to deploy the THAAD system in South Korea to protect [U.S.] soldiers and military assets in the region," Professor Suh added to her Korea Exposé statement on March 29.
Indeed, there is some truth to this suspicion...
You see, there are several sites around THAAD's base that are essential to U.S. operations in South Korea. These sites include the Port of Busan, where American ground troops would enter should a larger North Korea-South Korea war break out. And there is the Kusan Air Base, where allied soldiers partake in sustained military drills year-round.
And there's yet another benefit to THAAD's precise placement in remote south-central South Korea.
The defense system will allow the United States to form preemptive counter measures against Chinese missiles as well...
North Korea Is Not the Only Threat
This isn't the first time we've warned you about Red Dragon projectiles.
Money Morning Executive Editor William Patalon, who's been covering and studying developments within the "Asian arms race" for nearly three decades, first warned about Chinese missiles a month ago...
Bill wrote on April 28 that THAAD will also provide the U.S. military with "an 'early warning' of China-launched missiles, which would give America a 'first-strike' capability."
To many readers, the mere thought of "China-launched missiles" seems totally implausible because of the greater implication it carries: a U.S.-China war.
But Bill knows such a war is indeed a possibility. Especially considering that Beijing has been perfecting its military weapons stockpile for years in case it needs them in the South China Sea.
So it would hardly be a strenuous effort for the Red Dragon to turn its massive muzzle toward South Korea in an effort to thwart a growing U.S. (read: democratic) influence there.
Bill discusses these issue at length in his subscription service Private Briefing, where he offers incredible defense stock plays based on the ever-evolving turmoil in the East, including how to make bank on an aerospace leader that recently tested a 3D-printed hypersonic "glider" plane...
To access Private Briefing, click here...
- The National Interest: THAAD Won't Save Asia (or America) from North Korea
- Korea Expose: THAAD Will Not Protect South Korea
- Money Morning: How Does North Korea Make Money?
- Money Morning: The Pentagon Won't Tell You How Dangerous North Korea Is - but Trump Will
- Money Morning: 10 Times We Narrowly Avoided World War 3