Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) said South Korea’s move to deploy an advanced US anti-missile defense system to counter threats from North Korea has harmed the foundation of their mutual trust, according to news reports yesterday.
The announcement by South Korea and the US this month that they would deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) unit has already drawn protests from Beijing that it would destabilize regional security.
The decision to deploy THAAD is the latest move to squeeze the increasingly isolated North Korea, but China worries the system’s radar will be able to track its military capabilities. Russia also opposes the deployment.
“The recent move by the South Korean side has harmed the foundation of mutual trust between the two countries,” Wang was quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency and KBS television as telling South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se.
Wang and Yun met late on Sunday on the sidelines of the 10-member ASEAN conference of foreign ministers in Vientiane.
Yun told Wang that the move was aimed at protecting South Korea’s security and that it would not damage China’s security interests, Yonhap said.
South Korea and the US have said THAAD would only be used in defense against North Korean ballistic missiles.
North Korea has launched a series of missiles in recent months, the latest last week when it fired three ballistic missiles that it said was a simulated test of preemptive strikes against South Korean ports and airfields used by the US military.
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