SKorea firm on missile system despite China's concerns

Beijing’s foreign minister complains to his Seoul counterpart that their bilateral 'trust' has been ‘undermined’

SKorea firm on missile system despite China's concerns

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Korea appeared Monday to be unwavering in its planned deployment of a contentious American missile defense system -- even though Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi openly frowned on Seoul’s move ahead of a Southeast Asian bloc’s forum.

Earlier this month, Seoul and Washington announced the move to deploy THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) in the South by the end of next year.

China has long objected to the possibility of having a powerful missile defense radar so close by, while Seoul’s decision also signals a strengthening of ties with the United States -- there are already nearly 30,000 American military personnel stationed in South Korea.

With relations between Seoul and Beijing gradually improving despite China’s historic support for North Korea, Wang again expressed dismay over THAAD.

“The recent behavior from South Korea has undermined the foundation for our bilateral trust,” the Chinese official told Seoul’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se during a Sunday night meeting in Laos, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Yun reportedly played down the impact of THAAD on China ties, while a government source was also quoted as telling reporters that Wang’s words were nothing new when compared with China’s previous statements of disapproval.

But there are concerns that China may become less willing to cooperate with global efforts to squeeze North Korea over its nuclear weapon ambitions, having supported strengthened United Nations sanctions this year.

For example, the UN Security Council -- where China has the power of veto -- has failed to condemn the North for several ballistic missile tests this month.

Wang is also known to have flown from Beijing to Laos on the same flight Sunday as North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho.

Wang apparently admitted ahead of his talks with Yun that he might have an official meeting with Ri during their stay for the the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Temmuz 2016, 08:46