Amid tensions, China expels South Korean missionaries

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  • In a recent development, China has expelled 32 South Korean Christian missionaries.

Background:

  • In South Korea, China is widely believed to be retaliating against Seoul’s plan to host the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system of the U.S. military, against the threat of the missile attack from North Korea.
  • But there was no indication of a direct link between the expulsions and tension over THAAD
  • China’s Communist Party says it protects freedom of religion, but keeps a tight rein on religious activities and allows only officially recognised religious institutions.
  • The US has announced it would deploy THAAD in South Korea to neutralise the threat from North Korea’s alleged Nuclear ambitions. However, this decision has irked China and become lead to a rupture in Sino-US relationship.

What is THAAD?

  • The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system of the U.S. military is an easily transportable defensive weapon system to protect against hostile incoming threats such as tactical and theatre ballistic missiles at ranges of 200km and at altitudes up to 150km.
  • The THAAD system provides the upper tier of a ‘layered defensive shield’ to protect high value strategic or tactical sites such as airfields or populations centres.
  • The THAAD missile intercepts exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric threats.
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