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Report: South Korea could file WTO complaint for China THAAD retaliation

By
Elizabeth Shim
South Korea is preparing new measures to address the issue of Chinese trade retaliation after Seoul and Washington agreed to deploy the U.S. missile defense system THAAD. File Photo courtesy of U.S. Missile Defense Agency
South Korea is preparing new measures to address the issue of Chinese trade retaliation after Seoul and Washington agreed to deploy the U.S. missile defense system THAAD. File Photo courtesy of U.S. Missile Defense Agency

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Seoul may be taking new measures to address Chinese trade retaliation against South Korean companies in response to a joint U.S.-South Korea decision to deploy the THAAD missile defense system.

A South Korean foreign ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the government may be looking into "international legal measures" available through the World Trade Organization to respond to Chinese sanctions against South Korean conglomerates, Yonhap reported Wednesday.

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Since the United States and South Korea agreed to deploy THAAD on the peninsula, China may have begun to relax existing embargoes against North Korea, then banning performances of Korean musicians in the country and restricting charter flights.

The Seoul diplomatic official said South Korea is working on "various countermeasures in cooperation with different ministries."

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"It is difficult to mention specific details but various international legal reviews will be included," the official said, adding the policy includes steps to filing a complaint with the WTO.

Seoul has also been employing diplomatic channels to communicate with Beijing, the official said.

"We are trying to minimize the impact of THAAD, and the relevant ministries are closely cooperating with the Chinese side," the official said.

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Last week, Seoul held an "emergency meeting" in response to China's enforcement of new trade barriers.

South Korean airlines, including Asiana and Jeju Air, have not been allowed to dispatch charter flights to and from China, and electric carmakers that use Samsung or LG batteries have been excluded from Chinese government subsidies.

China has also banned the import of 28 cosmetic products, and 19 of them are of South Korean origin.

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