National Security

Chinese Generals Call Out US, Say South Korea Should Be Punished

REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Chinese senior officials recently called for the punishment of South Korea for its insistence on cooperating with the U.S. to install a missile defense shield with the potential to threaten China’s national security.

Six senior Chinese officials entered into an online Global Times forum and discussed a number of issues presently affecting U.S.-China relations Aug. 11. Their comments were published Aug. 16 in the Chinese edition of the Global Times.

The individuals who participated in the online discussion included three ambassadors and three generals. Former Chinese Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation representative Wang Yusheng, former Ambassador to Austria Yang Chengxu, former Ambassador to Iran Hua Liming, former director of strategic studies at the National Defense University Maj. Gen. Yang Yi, former academic committee director of the army’s strategic research department Maj. Gen. Peng Guangqian, and senior consultant for the China Institute for International Strategic Studies Maj. Gen. Wang Haiyun participated.

It was expected that the ambassadors would have a more dovish approach, while the generals would be more hawkish in their comments, but that wasn’t the case. When the topic of U.S.-Republic of Korea plans to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Aerial Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea came up, all of the discussion participants expressed a high degree of anger and outrage.

Yang argued, “Some comrades believe that we shouldn’t stoop to America’s level, that we shouldn’t destroy the China-South Korea relationship.”

He continued, “But, looking at the THAAD problem, China must hold fast to its principles. We must take a tougher stance against South Korea and let them linger in despair. If we can teach South Korea this lesson, it will establish a norm for the future. We will make it clear to neighboring countries that there is a rule in place for challengers: those who come at us will be spanked.”

Hua said, “We must seize the opportunity to establish rules. Those who come after China’s national interests will pay the price.”

As the U.S. is perceived as the puppet master encouraging the South Korean government to install THAAD in an effort to threaten China and Russia’s national security, the ambassadors and generals were quick to criticize the U.S. for its prominent role in stirring up trouble in the Asia Pacific.

“Regardless of whether it is the arbitration of the South China Sea disputes or the deployment of THAAD, regardless of whether Japan is kicking or Vietnam is getting riled up, the ‘shadow of Washington’ can be seen behind all of the things causing problems for China,” reported the Global Times.

An Army statement released yesterday said that during a meeting with People’s Liberation Army Gen. Li Zuocheng in Beijng Tuesday, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mike Milley addressed Chinese complaints. He explained, “The U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance decision to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is a defensive measure to protect South Koreans and Americans from the North Korean ballistic missile threat, not a threat to China in any way.”

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