April 06, 2017 10:06
Twenty-six U.S. senators on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump urging him to call on Chinese President Xi Jinping to "cease... unfair economic retaliation against South Korea."
Beijing has implemented a draconian unofficial boycott of South Korea over its decision to let the U.S. deploy a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here.
The letter from the senators, who include veteran John McCain who chairs the Senate Armed Forces Committee, came ahead of the summit on Thursday and Friday.
They urge the president to call on his counterpart to "reexamine his view of the THAAD deployment," "cease unwarranted and unfair economic retaliation against South Korea," and "discuss how China can play a more productive role in efforts to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea."
The letter was signed by 25 other senators, including two failed Republican presidential contenders, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.
"Pyongyang has continued to develop ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capabilities that directly threaten our allies -- [South] Korea and Japan. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is also moving rapidly to develop systems that can credibly threaten the United States."
They hope Trump will explain that Washington and Seoul's "joint decision to deploy THAAD is entirely a result of North Korea's continued aggressive behavior."
They added, "We are also very concerned about recent retaliatory measures that Beijing has employed against South Korean companies doing business in China.”
The boycott is "explicitly designed to sow political dissension in South Korea and drive a wedge between the South Korean and U.S. governments," they wrote. "While China continues to aggressively oppose a missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula, China has done little in recent years to slow or halt North Korea's missile and nuclear programs."
On March 30, Ed Royce, the chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, also wrote to Beijing to end the THAAD retaliation.
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