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May 26, 2017

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'We don't fight others' war'

Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) on Thursday reiterated Taiwan's stance against installing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

During a session at the Legislative Yuan's Foreign Affairs and National Defense committee, legislators asked Feng whether Taiwan would host the U.S. anti-ballistic missile system THAAD.

In his response, Feng said that Taiwan "should not be involved in other nations' war or make pointless sacrifices in conflicts between two global powers."

He rejected the idea of a THAAD installation, saying that Taiwan's military fights to protect the nation and its sovereignty."

These questions come on the heels of the U.S.' announcement that it will be stationing a marine guard at the new American Institute in Taipei office compound and South Korea's announcement that it would be installing the missile system in its country.

Questioned about his opinion on South Korea's decision to install THAAD, Feng said that it was a plan formed by the U.S., Japan, and South Korea in order to force China to cooperate, an idea thought up by what Feng called "global powers" and of which, he believed, Taiwan should take no part.

THAAD, which is designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles, could help Taiwan become a country that enemies "would not dare to carelessly attack," according to local media.

Seoul under Chinese Pressure

There was growing concern in Seoul Thursday over calls in China for South Korean companies to be punished over a U.S. missile system deal, while the North unleashed fiery rhetoric following the start of annual South Korea-U.S. war games.

The system, which will be stationed in South Korea as part of a deal reached by the two allies earlier this year, was for defense use only, Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck told reporters.

Deploying the THAAD system in South Korea is aimed at countering the rising nuclear and missile threats posed by the North, but the plan has angered Beijing, which fears it will undermine its own ballistic capabilities.

The South's defense ministry signed a land swap deal with retail giant Lotte on Tuesday for the stationing of THAAD and said it would push for its deployment this year.

Cho said Thursday that Seoul had no plans to push back the date, despite criticism from Beijing and calls by state media for retaliation against South Korean firms such as Lotte.

China's foreign ministry has said THAAD "jeopardizes the strategic security interests" in the region and warned of "consequences" against Seoul and Washington.

As THAAD takes another step towards becoming a reality in South Korea, demonstrators have taken to the streets to voice their opposition.

The protest, which took place this Tuesday, comes after the signing of a land-swap agreement between retail giant Lotte and the South Korean government in which the company would give its golf course to the government for the installation of THAAD while receiving in return military-owned land near the capital.

Amongst the protestors are residents living near the host site who have filed a lawsuit against the Defense Ministry.

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