China 'tacitly' admitted to retaliatory response to THAAD, lawmaker says

Seoul lawmakers met with the Chinese foreign minister on Wednesday.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Jan. 5, 2017 at 9:30 AM
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SEOUL, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi voiced his opposition to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system on the Korean peninsula during a meeting with South Korea opposition party lawmakers in Beijing on Wednesday.

The meeting, which took place as Seoul is preparing to move forward with THAAD deployment in coordination with U.S. Forces Korea, addressed possible boycotts against South Korean companies and pop artists that have raised concerns, South Korean television network MBC reported Thursday.

Rep. Song Young-gil of South Korea's Minjoo Party, who met with Wang, said there was a "tacit understanding" between the two sides that the boycott against K-Pop artists was in some part a response to South Korea's decision to deploy THAAD.

Wang has also refused to meet with the South Korean ambassador to Beijing, and Ambassador Kim Jang-soo was denied a meeting with a Chinese senior official in charge of North Korea affairs.

South Korean analyst Shin Sang-jin at Kwangwoon University has said the Korean government would not welcome the recent meeting between Korea's political opposition and the Chinese foreign minister because Seoul sees the encounter as an opening for China's strategic intentions to intervene in Korean politics.

Other analysts have said Beijing is looking for an opportunity to deter South Korea from its longstanding commitment to the security alliance it retains with the United States and Japan, according to MBC.

Beijing's foreign ministry issued a statement on THAAD deployment in South Korea on Thursday, according to Korean news service Money Today.

Beijing said that while it "understands the South Korean side is trying to protect the security of the nation and its people ... China is against the enforcement of THAAD that would incur losses for China's strategic security."

Seoul is moving ahead with the deployment and is expected to complete the land exchange with conglomerate Lotte, which owns the golf course in Seongju where the missile defense system is to be deployed.

THAAD could be deployed as early as May 2017, according to News 1.

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