Report: China asked South Korea to build THAAD wall

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Nov. 23, 2017 at 3:39 PM
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Nov. 23 (UPI) -- China may have asked South Korea to build a wall to block a U.S. missile defense system from monitoring Chinese military movements.

The request from Beijing comes at a time when Seoul is preparing for a summit between President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Munhwa Ilbo reported Thursday.

Multiple South Korean diplomatic sources are not sure how the request could be met, as the deployment of THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, was a joint decision with the United States.

"The Chinese side is demanding the installation of a barrier to block the THAAD radar, although this is not a decision to be made by [the South Korean] government," the Munhwa's sources said.

The South Korean newspaper's sources also said the requests began as early as July, when China was engaged in unofficial sanctions against South Korean companies operating in the world's second-largest economy.

On Wednesday Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-hwa in Beijing.

According to Beijing's foreign ministry, China remains opposed to THAAD deployment, but Seoul and Beijing agreed to take a "step-by-step" approach to the THAAD problem.

Ahead of the meeting, Seoul and Beijing had agreed there would be no additional THAAD deployment, no South Korean participation in a potential U.S. missile defense network, and no establishment of a trilateral alliance with the United States and Japan.

Analysts have said Seoul agreed on the solution, in order to bring an end to Chinese economic retaliation.

Moon and Xi are to meet in mid-December, according to South Korean newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun.

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