Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Qiu Guohong on Thursday urged South Korea to suspend the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in the country.
“The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery must be scrapped immediately. If that is impossible, it should at least be suspended to leave room open for Seoul and Beijing to negotiate,” the envoy was quoted as saying by Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun of the ruling Liberty Korea Party.
Yoon said he held a private meeting with the ambassador to discuss the latest Seoul-Beijing tension.
The United States began moving the THAAD battery system to South Korea with the first elements of the anti-missile system arriving here Monday.
China has been protesting Seoul and Washington’s decision to deploy the THAAD system, rolling out economic retaliation such as banning tour agencies from selling trips to South Korea.
“South Korea is speeding up the process (of the deployment) too fast. The situation is very grave. China is also preparing for the worst situation,” the envoy was also quoted as saying.
The diplomat said the on-going economic retaliation is only being made at the private level, and that its government is not behind it.
He also said Seoul’s plan to take legal steps against China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) will not help in solving the problem.
The South Korean government said earlier it will consider appealing to international legal procedures as China’s actions may violate the agreement of the WTO and the Seoul-Beijing free trade pact. (Yonhap)