US Missile System in South Korea Would Hurt Seoul-Beijing Ties: Official

US Missile System in South Korea Would Hurt Seoul-Beijing Ties: Official
Tue Feb 23, 2016 16:42:46

China has warned that a United States missile system planned to be set up on South Korea’s soil would harm its security.

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong made the remarks while speaking with the head of the social liberal Minjoo Party of Korea, Kim Jong-in, at the South Korean parliament on Tuesday.

The envoy said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system that has been cleared for deployment to South Korea would “greatly undermine” China’s security interests, besides causing instability and a regional arms race.

South Korea “should consider whether its own security, under these circumstances, could be guaranteed,” Qiu said.

Seoul and Washington have announced a plan to install the missile system as a means of countering North Korea’s nuclear arms and missile capabilities.

Qiu, meanwhile, warned that the potential deployment of the system would inflict potential irreparable damage to Sino-Korean 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,” he said.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Washington and Seoul had postponed the signing of an accord on setting up a joint working group to discuss the details of the deployment.

The delay came as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was set to visit Washington on Tuesday to meet his US counterpart John Kerry for possible talks on the controversial missile system.

US President Barack Obama has introduced a "Pivot" to his Asia strategy, under which Washington has been expanding its sphere of political and economic influence in the Asia-Pacific region to counter Beijing’s clout.

Washington has also been challenging Beijing’s ownership of disputed islands in the South China Sea, keeping an eye over Chinese movements on and around the territories.

S/SH 11

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