War of the walletby Yuan Ren / June 21, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
“Chinese tourists are the [country’s] army,” one commentator on a television talk show recently quipped—and he wasn’t far wrong. The discussion was about how South Korea had fallen out of favour with Chinese travellers. Last year, it was the top international destination for the week-long May holidays; 12 months on, it had slid to tenth place.
The big plunge is because of South Korea’s embrace of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence). Developed by the United States, it is a land-based system of rocket launchers mounted on trucks, which tracks and intercepts short- and medium-range missiles—like those Kim Jong-un has been testing in North Korea. THAAD’s radar detects an incoming threat and launches its own missile to destroy it high in the sky. The warhead-free projectile uses the force of its energy to destroy its target.
During a test on 29th May, the North Koreans fired a rocket into the Sea of Japan, an area active with fishing boats and cargo. So the nerves in the South Korean capital, Seoul, are natural enough. And if Kim Jong-un manages to develop long-range missiles, even the US could be at risk.