South Korea on Thursday said the deployment of a US anti-missile system was not subject to negotiations, rejecting China’s demands to respect the policies of the previous Moon administration.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi raised the issue Tuesday during a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin. Beijing said the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and its radar capabilities would undermine China’s “strategic security interests.”
according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs of ChinaAt the meeting, the two sides agreed to accept each other’s “legitimate concerns” so that the THAAD issue would not become a “stumbling block” in bilateral relations.
Wang also urged conservative Yoon Seok-yeol’s new South Korean government to respect the left-leaning Moon Jae-in administration’s “three no” policy. will not form a military alliance.
However, the Yoon administration’s foreign ministry countered that the previous administration’s “three no” pledge was not a formal agreement.
After the meeting, the South Korean side said, “We confirmed our differences of opinion over the THAAD issue at the meeting, but we also agreed that the THAAD issue should not become an obstacle affecting bilateral relations.”
Yoon’s office said South Korea deploys the THAAD system primarily to counter missile threats from attacks from North Korea, and that the previous administration has not provided any materials on its commitments to China. according to For Yonhap News, a local media outlet.
“My government has clearly stated that THAAD is a means of self-defense aimed at protecting the lives and safety of the people from the nuclear and missile threats of North Korea, and that it is an issue of security sovereignty that will never be subject to negotiation. I have,” he added.
South Korea deployed the THAAD system in 2017 in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear program. China, however, retaliated by suspending Chinese group tours to South Korea, claiming it could reconfigure the THAAD system to peer into its own territory.
Moon, who, along with former President Donald Trump, has pursued engagement with North Korea toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, promised a “three no” to try to mend relations with China.
President Moon’s dovish approach was scrapped by his successor, Yoon, who promised stronger security cooperation with Washington and expressed willingness to acquire more THAAD batteries to counter the North Korean nuclear threat. it was done.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.