Protests and Police Conflict Expected at THAAD Deployment

US Defence Secretary James Mattis told his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera today that America would help Japan enhance its ballistic missile defence capabilities following the biggest nuclear weapons test by North Korea, the Pentagon said.

South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said on Friday the country is exploring all ways to prevent the North from developing the technology to mount nuclear warheads on missiles, Efe news reported. The Security Council already imposed more sanctions last month after Pyongyang test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

Pyongyang also conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sunday, prompting vehement reprimands from neighbouring Japan and the United States. "I would prefer not going the route of the military, but it's something certainly that could happen".

In contrast to USA preparations for a possible war with North Korea, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is "sure that a large-scale conflict, especially with the use of weapons of mass destruction, will not happen". He added that "it would be a very sad day for North Korea" should the equipment ever be put to use.

Moon earlier called for a ban on overseas North Korean workers, who are a key foreign currency source for the North, but Putin said problem should be solved diplomatically, according to Seoul's presidential office.

South Korea and the United States are technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Dr Lee Seong Hyon of the Sejong Institute think-tank said China does not believe sanctions can solve the North Korean problem, but "feels compelled to show the image (of itself) as a responsible power".

Concerns have risen that the North could carry out additional provocations to mark the anniversary as the regime has often timed major provocations with important anniversaries, including the founding anniversary, one of the most celebrated holidays.

South Korean experts say that the launch was Pyongyang's attempt to make missiles flying over Japan an accepted norm as it seeks to test new projectiles in conditions close to operational and win more military space in a region dominated by enemies. His military has maintained a torrid pace in testing weapons, which also include solid-fuel missiles built to be fired from road mobile launchers or submarines. It has previously retaliated against Seoul with unofficial economic sanctions.

China and Russian Federation oppose the installation.

  • Jon Douglas