• THAAD's X-band AN/TPY-2 radar system.

THAAD's X-band AN/TPY-2 radar system. (Photo : Raytheon)

China threw a huge hissy fit at news the South Korea's Lotte Group approved a deal that will allow the South Korean government to deploy the United States' Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system on Korean soil this year, and threatened to sever diplomatic relations with South Korea.

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Lotte, South Korea's biggest operator of department stores and duty free shops and South Korea's fifth-biggest conglomerate, decided on Feb. 28 to offer land it owns for the deployment of THAAD

Seoul last month announced the definite deployment of the first THAAD battery on a golf course owned by Lotte International, the Lotte subsidiary that owns the golf course, at the southern county of Seongju, 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul. A second THAAD battery will also to be deployed, but the location has yet to be announced.

After news of the deal became public, Beijing promised to punish Lotte's business interests in China. Chinese media said Lotte's decision could turn into a nightmare for Lotte, which is still struggling in China after it launched in China in 1994

Lotte International held a board of directors meeting to approve the agreement. Under the deal, the golf course at Seongju will be exchanged for military land near the capital Seoul.

State-owned media is ranting that Lotte should be banished from China. The People's Daily, China's largest newspaper whose owner is the Communist Party of China, said cutting diplomatic ties with South Korea should also be considered as a consequence of Lotte's decision.

"If THAAD is really deployed in South Korea, then China-South Korea relations will face the possibility of getting ready to cut off diplomatic relations," said the propaganda mouthpiece.

The deployment of the first THAAD missile system battery in South Korea, which should be completed by September 2017, is part of a strategic rotation campaign meant to increase deterrence pressure on North Korea.

Rotating strategic weaponry onto the Korean Peninsula will have a deterrent effect against North Korean provocations, which have included nuclear weapons and ballistic missile threats, said Gen. Vincent Keith Brooks , Commander, United States Forces Korea (USFK), United Nations Command and ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command.

Gen. Brooks also said the first U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system battery will be deployed to South Korea from June to August 2017. The battery's interceptors can destroy North Korean ballistic missiles such as the Hwasong-10 (Musudan) IRBM North Korea has tested over the past few months.

A THAAD battery consists of six mobile launchers, 48 missiles, airborne radar and fire control system. Its X-band AN/TPY-2 radar can detect missiles or aircraft 2,000 kilometers away on a forward-based mode, and 600 kilometers on a terminal mode.

The radars are the reason China vehemently opposes the deployment of THAAD.