Rethink U.S. missile defenses in Pacific instead of pushing for Jeju naval base

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Letters to the International Herald Tribune

U.S. Defenses in the Pacific

Published: August 10, 2011

Regarding Christine Ahn’s article “Unwanted missiles for a Korean island” (Views, Aug. 6): China’s objection to being surrounded by the U.S. Asia-Pacific missile defense system — set to be reinforced by a naval base on Jeju Island — is understandable and could indeed fuel an arms race which China but not the United States could afford.

Russia sees a similar threat in the U.S. missile defense projects in Eastern Europe. And the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 demonstrated chillingly that the United States was prepared to risk a nuclear war to protect its own security.

Rather than pressuring Seoul to construct the Jeju naval base and thereby jeopardize both its relationship with China and the economy and environment of a beautiful island, Washington should instead take the advice of Joseph Nye Jr. to rethink how the United States uses its military power (“The way to trim the U.S. military budget,” Views, Aug. 6). Mr. Nye could have proposed “smart diplomacy” as well.

Xiao Ling, Singapore

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