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2017-10-31 17:34
President should be firm about our stance on THAAD


Korea and China have embarked on path to mend bilateral ties that were strained due to differences over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Korea. Since Korea announced the decision to bring in a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in July 2016, China has adamantly protested, claiming it undermined its national security. Since then, Korea’s entertainment, retail and travel industries have suffered from China’s retaliatory measures.

Cheong Wa Dae announced Tuesday that the countries have agreed to rebuild their ties. The highlight of the agreement is the summit next week between President Moon Jae-in and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Cheong Wa Dae said the summit will be the first step in implementing an agreement to normalize swiftly the two countries’ relations in all areas. It remains to be seen how much impact the second Korea-China summit since Moon took office will have in actually improving bilateral ties because Beijing’s fundamental perspective on THAAD is unlikely to change. On the eve of the agreement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reiterated that China had “always been opposed to the deployment of the THAAD system in the ROK by the U.S.”

The agreement to mend ties has been criticized for being a result of “humiliating diplomacy” in that it did not contain any apology from the Chinese government about the retaliatory measures against Korean businesses in China.

InSeptember, Lotte Mart reportedly decided to close its China operations due to snowballing losses. Korea’s tourism industry has also suffered. There has been a noticeable drop in the number of Chinese travelers to Korea since Beijing banned travel agencies from sending group tours here earlier this year. But the government has not properly protested about the retaliatory measures against THAAD. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha only gave a lethargic response to her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi’s outburst against THAAD during their first meeting at the ASEAN Regional Forum in August.

China has poured cold water on bilateral relations by meddling in our national security decisions. Moon should make it clear that THAAD is necessary to defend the nation against North Korea’s increasing provocations and that China’s interference in the decision to deploy THAAD is inappropriate and infringes upon our sovereignty.

He should also tell Xi that the retaliatory measures against Korean industries harm the spirit of cooperation and undermine the special friendship the two countries have built since diplomatic ties were established 25 years ago.


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