BEIJING --- The Republic of Korea (ROK) has started deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system as soon as launchers arrived, with relevant forces and remaining equipment to be delivered in one or two months, according to reports from ROK and the United States on March 7.
The US and ROK seem to be determined to complete the THAAD deployment before the next ROK presidential election. The fact that China could not stop the deployment has been noted by most observers.
Therefore, China must now be determined to take resolute and effective measures to minimize the system's threat to China.
First and foremost, there's absolutely no need for Chinese people to be depressed. They can handle this with a mature attitude. The current situation is not something unexpected because China cannot decide the trends of surrounding countries.
Some external forces will gather around small countries to squeeze and push China from time-to-time, and neighboring countries may misjudge China's determination to boycott the deployment of the THAAD system. This is the reality that China has to face.
But China will never allow itself to be trampled on. Although China cannot stop the deployment of the THAAD in ROK, China can restrict ROK's military and political fermentation. In future games, China can make ROK uncomfortable and will let the US know that it has made a wrong decision.
China will not go quietly into the night regarding the THAAD deployment. Because if China does not make ROK pay a heavy price this time, it will only become more fearless when dealing with China.
Moreover, there may be other neighboring countries that try to imitate the effect and by that time, the strategic situation may be out of control.
With that said, China can start with sanctions against ROK. The nature of Sino-ROK relations does not necessarily need to be changed from China's point of view, but the sanctions should be maintained for a long time, so that the overall level of the exchange between China and ROK will go down.
This means that China must take away the special concessions gained by ROK from China and only maintain the normal relationship between the two countries.
A few years ago, when China and ROK were close, Chinese consumers grew fond of Korean cultural products. Now it is time to turn up the heat and force the ROK out of the Chinese market. This is the price that ROK has to pay due to the deployment of THAAD.
Then, China should prepare for a military response and a wider range of strategic responses. THAAD constitutes a direct threat to military activities within Chinese territory and it is also the first arbitrary anti-missile layout formation by the US around China. Both of these will damage China's security.
Can China suppress the THAAD system technically? China must strengthen related research and if feasible, China will have to do whatever it takes. For example, it was suggested that China can use interference which is worth considering seriously.
Another thing is certain that China's strategic weapons must target the base where THAAD is deployed. China can also hold relevant drills of attacking the THAAD system.
We must prevent the US from expanding the THAAD in China's southeast direction and also prevent the ROK from deploying tactical nuclear weapons. These cannot be achieved only by sanctions against South Korea's Lotte group.
The deployment of THAAD system in ROK may become a turning point in the large-scale adjustment of the pattern of Northeast Asia, and China needs to look forward when making decisions.
But for China, the most important thing is to build up its military power. The deployment of THAAD provides China with the reason to increase the number and quality of strategic nuclear weapons.
Now, if China launches missile tests in the Pacific, or even re-starts nuclear tests, the outside world will be more understanding. China must seize this opportunity brought by the deployment of THAAD to improve its overall strategic nuclear power so as to turn bad things into good.
THAAD is part of the US global anti-missile system and Russia is by far the biggest victim of it. Beijing and Moscow should explore the possibility of cooperation against THAAD because the two countries need to fight against the US global anti-missile system jointly.
The deployment of THAAD in the ROK is China's latest challenge. However, China must look beyond one country. The world is at a crossroads where the US is establishing global military hegemony through anti-missile practices while China and Russia are breaking the hegemony to maintain the pattern of multiple forces.