China Ups Pressure on Seoul to Send Back THAAD

  • By Lee Kil-seong

    June 21, 2017 11:49

    China on Tuesday called on South Korea to send back a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery from the U.S. that Beijing finds too assertive of American military might on its doorstep.

    Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam met with his Chinese counterpart Zhang Yesui in Beijing to discuss THAAD, the North Korean nuclear threat and a summit between the leaders of the two countries during the G20 meeting in Germany next month.

    Zhang in his opening comments said a "major obstacle" remains despite President Moon Jae-in talking to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the phone and sending a special envoy to Beijing. Lim said Moon wants to "develop Korea-China relations into a strategic partnership."

    Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam (left) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Zhang Yesui in Beijing, China on Tuesday. /Yonhap

    Lim had urged the Chinese to stop an unofficial boycott of South Korean business and other retaliatory measures over the THAAD deployment.

    Beijing fears that the battery's powerful radar will be used to spy on its military movements and seems bent on wringing maximum advantage from the Moon administration's doubts over the deployment, which is also controversial here.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang later told reporters that Beijing hopes Seoul "can demonstrate political will and resolution, honor the commitment and work with China to strengthen communication and coordination to push for immediate improvement and development of bilateral relations."

    Lim told Zhang the goal of the new South Korean administration is the complete scrapping of the North's nuclear weapons. He added that Seoul wants to take a "comprehensive and phased approach" to the problem.

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