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Row over THAAD deployment unlikely to hurt economic cooperation with China: ambassador

All Headlines 11:58 October 19, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 19 (Yonhap) -- The top Chinese envoy in South Korea said Wednesday that the row over Seoul's plans to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula will not affect economic cooperation between the two countries, though it could hurt their political and military ties.

"I would not mention a specific pending issue between China and South Korea," Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong said during a forum held by a local business association in Seoul. "(But) if a certain factor in the Seoul-Washington ties affects China, it would be normal that the Chinese government should take necessary action."

He didn't specify what the certain factor is but his remarks were interpreted as pointing to the government's plan to place the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in the country by end-2017.

South Korea and China have been at odds over the THAAD issue since its deployment plan was announced in July.

Seoul and Washington announced the decision, claiming that it would target missiles and any other threat coming from the North, while Beijing worries that it could hurt its strategic security interest.

"It would be unlikely that emotion remains unaffected after a married couple had a fight. As such, it would be abnormal to say that there is no impact (on the ties between China and South Korea)," he said.

"For instance, official exchanges at the government and military levels between the two countries can be affected and it would be normal," he added. "(But) tell me if you have any problem in economic cooperation with China (due to diplomatic developments), I will take care of it right away."

He said that many media reports on THAAD and China's response have been irrational, and that it is "groundless" to say that China is bashing South Korea in such areas as culture and economy in retaliation.

The ambassador expressed strong confidence that the friendly ties between China and South Korea are moving forward, adding that the two neighbors are countries that share the same destiny and responsibility.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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