As I wrote yesterday, the US Senator Dick Durbin reportedly said “if South Korea does not want the THAAD missile system, it is $923 million that we can spend some other place”.
But, he should have said “We would bring THAAD to Japan if South Korean doesn’t want it.” Or, he did?
I just remembered reading a Japanese news article a few weeks ago May 15. In the article (in Japanese), the writer(A journalist Noguchi Hiroyuki) recalls a conversation with an American who are close to US military.
(I simplified it)
The Amarican : Do you think the president Moon really oppose THAAD? Is he serious?
Noguchi : I don’t know if he is serious or insane, but I think it is true that he has feeling of trust in North Korea. So, it is an obstacle for him to have THAAD which North Korea hates.
The Amarican : Is there any way to keep THAAD in South Korea without any turbulence?
Noguchi : There is. A secret strategy. Tell Moon that the Trump administration would bring THAAD to Japan if South Korean doesn’t want it. You can take advantage of South Korea’s one-way self-wrestling like competitive spirit against Japan. South Korea would immediately and shamelessly change its attitude and beg for THAAD.
It is no secret South Korea has been asking for the same equipment as Japan has for years.
A few weeks later..
A US Senator Dick Durbin: “I basically said to him two things. We face tough budget times in Washington. We are cutting a lot of programs. And if South Korea does not want the Thaad missile system, it is $923 million that we can spend some other place,” he said during the interview held in central Seoul right after his meeting with Moon.
“Secondly, I believe that if I lived in South Korea, I would want as many missile defense systems as possible to protect against the hundreds of ballistic missiles which North Korea could rain on the South should war begin. I don’t understand why that feeling does not dominate this conversation. I think national security and defense should dominate,” he added.
Coincidence? I don’t know. According to UPI, South Korea officially denied it even happened.
June 1 (UPI) — South Korea disputed local press reports claiming a visiting U.S. senator said portions of the U.S. defense budget going toward the deployment of the missile defense system THAAD could be reallocated if deployment is overturned.
A spokesman for Seoul’s presidential Blue House told reporters Thursday he did not recall whether U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., had said if South Korea does not want to continue with THAAD deployment the defense budget could be assigned elsewhere.
“That portion [of Durbin’s statement] did not happen,” the South Korean spokesman said, according to local news service EDaily. “I have not heard it nor do I recall such a statement.”
The spokesman then said Durbin had “expressed surprise” with President Moon Jae-in regarding the controversy around THAAD deployment.
Durbin had reportedly said THAAD deployment is being made possible by “$923 million” of U.S. taxpayer money.
It was then Moon had said he “does not take the decision lightly,” and Durbin agreed an environmental assessment in accordance with reasonable and legal procedures should be carried out, according to the Blue House.
THAAD was deployed at a former golf course in Seongju, central South Korea, before the assessment was finished.
In a separate statement, Seoul’s foreign ministry said the government is “working closely with the United States in the spirit of the alliance” regarding THAAD, and “enhancing mutual understanding through genuine communication with China,” Yonhap reported.
“The focus of the issue of THAAD deployment, is that there was a lack of public discussion that included the right of the people to know,” said ministry spokesman Cho Jun-hyuk. “We expect a discussion at the National Assembly that will add to democratic and procedural legitimacy.”
Reports of Moon’s “extreme shock” over the installation of four unreported THAAD launchers are raising hopes in China the decision could be overturned.
Zheng Jiyong, a Korea specialist at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times the latest development could lead to a reversal because it demonstrates the “lack of legitimacy of the THAAD decision.”
Civic groups in South Korea opposed to the THAAD decision are calling for “disciplinary action” against South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo and the former chief of the National Security Office Kim Kwan-jin, according to Newsis.