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South Korea Reiterates THAAD Position to China

by YuGee / Aug 10, 2016 06:58 AM EDT
South Korea pushes to finish 800-kilometer range ballistic missiles in 2017. (Photo by Chung Sung Jun / Getty Images News)

On Tuesday, August 9, South Korean Ambassador to China Kim Jang Soo held a meeting with Beijing's special representative for the Korean Peninsula, Wu Dawei, to restate Seoul's unwavering position on the need to deploy a U.S. anti-missile system in Korea.

In a report, Korea Times stated that the meeting was the first time that the South Korean government expressed its position on THAAD to China through an official diplomatic method. The meeting was scheduled after Beijing criticized the decision of South Korea to deploy U.S. anti-missile system through its state-run media last week.

A diplomatic source who does not want to be named said, "Kim delivered the government's clear position on the deployment of the Terminal High altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to Wu. The two also exchanged views on other issues surrounding the peninsula, including North Korea's recent missile provocations."

Beijing has been conveying strong resistance to the idea of deploying THAAD units in South Korea by the end of 2017. Their opposition is mainly due to the fear that the battery's AN/TPY-2 radar could spy on the military activities and missile capabilities of China.

On August 3, the official newspaper of China's Communist Party, People's Daily, released an editorial which stated that President Park Geun Hye should solve the controversy deliberately in order to prevent devastating her country.

On August 6, the Global Times, under the patronage of the People's Daily, asserted that some South Korean lawmakers who were against the idea of the deployment of THAAD were blasted by the government, the Saenuri party, and the media before they head to China.

In order to discuss with Chinese official and scholars the issue surrounding the deployment of the THAAD system, six first-time lawmakers from the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK) headed to China on Monday.

The initial plan for Ambassador Kim to meet the lawmakers upon their visit to China was postponed because of the firm opposition by Seoul's presidential office to the latter's arrival to Beijing. A meeting with Wu was scheduled instead of meeting the opposition lawmakers.

A government official who requested anonymity said, "The government clearly delivered its position to China, but it remains to be seen how the Chinese government will react."

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