South Korea dismisses China warning about US missile system
South Korea has rejected China’s warning that a US missile system planned to be set up on Korean soil would harm relations between Seoul and Beijing.
“The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is a measure of self-defense against growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea,” presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-guk said on Wednesday.
Jeong said the matter would be “decided in accordance with security and national interests,” adding that, “China will have to recognize the point.”
The remarks came after Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong said on Tuesday that the installation of the THAAD system in South Korea could “destroy” Beijing-Seoul ties.
“It has taken much effort to develop China-South Korea ties to this degree. But these efforts could be destroyed in an instant because of one issue,” Qiu said, in reference to the planned missile system deployment.
Earlier on Tuesday, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Washington and Seoul had put off the signing of a deal on setting up a joint committee to discuss the details of the deployment.
THAAD is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach.
Washington says the deployment of the missile system to the Korean Peninsula acts as a deterrent against North Korea’s ballistic missile program. Russia and China, however, say such a move would undermine stability on the restive Korean Peninsula.