03:53 GMT +321 October 2019
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    Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) escort ship Kurama (L) takes part in a fleet review off Sagami Bay, Kanagawa prefecture (File)

    'More Serious Than Problem of THAAD': US, Allies Eye Island, Upset China

    © AFP 2019 / Toru Yamanaka
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    "The ongoing naval drills between South Korea, the United States and Japan may add to a possible security crisis which may be even more serious than the problem of THAAD," Ko Gwonil, Chairman of the All-Korean Committee to Counter the Creation of a Naval Base on Jeju, told Sputnik Korea.

    In an interview with Sputnik Korea, Ko Gwonil, Chairman of the All-Korean Committee to Counter the Creation of a Naval Base on Jeju, warned of "a much more serious security crisis than the problem of THAAD," which he said may stem from the ongoing naval drills between South Korea, the United States and Japan.

    On Monday, the three countries started a combined naval exercise against North Korea's growing submarine threat, Yonhap News Agency quoted the South Korean Defense Ministry as saying.

    The three-day drills are being held "in the waters between South Korea and Japan near Jeju Island; they involve "an Aegis system-equipped guided missile destroyer, several other warships and military choppers," according to the Defense Ministry.

    The war games are aimed at "securing an 'effective response' by the three countries to North Korea's submarine threats, especially as it is developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs)," Yonhap reported.

    Speaking to Sputnik Korea, Ko Gwonil said that "upon forming a coalition with the US-Japan alliance, Korea increases its defense spending and transfers its own security to the hands of foreign countries."

    "It is impossible to resolve the problem of North Korea by doing so; what's more, there will be additional threats to security from China, which will perceive South Korea as a hostile state," Ko Gwonil said.

    He added that "if during the formation of a military alliance the US, Japan and South Korea create military bases on Jeju Island aimed at China, Beijing will certainly retaliate because it will see South Korea as a 'real enemy' rather than a 'potential enemy'."

    "If the South Korean government consolidates its efforts with the US Navy and Japan to block the navigation of Chinese military vessels, there will be a much more serious security crisis than the problem of THAAD," he pointed out.

    Ko Gwonil recalled in this vein that in March 25, "for the first time in the history of South Korea, the US destroyer Stethem entered the military port of Jeju, in what was justified by vessel's logistical problems and the need for the ship's crew to have a rest.

    In July 2016, Washington and Seoul reached an agreement on placing a US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on South Korean soil. In early March, the THAAD deployment began in response to North Korea's ballistic missile tests.

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    Tags:
    alliance, drills, threats, response, security, THAAD, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Japan, United States, South Korea
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