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Park, Xi to hold summit Monday amid THAAD tensions

All Headlines 13:26 September 04, 2016

By Song Sang-ho

HANGZHOU, China, Sept. 4 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye will hold a summit with her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Hangzhou, China, on Monday amid tensions over the planned deployment of an advanced U.S. antimissile system to South Korea.

Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Sunday said Park and Xi will hold the summit in the morning on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies in China's eastern lakeside city.

The two-way summit has been arranged as Beijing remains opposed to the plan by Seoul and Washington to station a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, a core element of America's global missile defense program, to the Korean Peninsula by the end of next year.

Seoul has defended its deployment plan as an "inevitable, self-defense" measure to counter Pyongyang's evolving nuclear and missile threats. The communist regime's recent test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile has further strengthened the case for THAAD.

But Beijing has argued that the THAAD deployment would needlessly escalate regional military tensions and undermine its strategic security interest.

Fresh tensions between Seoul and Beijing have spawned concerns that Beijing could become less willing to faithfully enforce the latest set of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang, which were imposed in March in response to the provocative state's nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch the following month.

A day earlier, Xi stressed in a speech at a business forum that the world should dismiss the "Cold War-like mentality of the bygone era." Observers say this appears to further underscore Xi's opposition to the planned THAAD deployment to the peninsula.

China believes the deployment of another U.S. missile defense asset in a nearby location could tip the security balance in favor of the U.S. amid an intensifying rivalry between the two major powers over regional preponderance, observers said.

In particular, a THAAD battery can undermine China's so-called anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) strategy, the centerpiece of which is to mobilize a series of military assets, such as coastal artillery, to keep any hostile forces -- namely U.S. forces -- at bay.

This photo, taken on March 31, 2016, shows President Park Geun-hye holding a summit with her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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