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(LEAD) S. Korea mulls measures against China's THAAD retaliation: foreign minister

All Headlines 16:18 January 02, 2017

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead and throughout with FM's comments)

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top diplomat said Monday the government is mulling countermeasures to deal with China's recent curbs on Korean businesses and cultural products in an apparent retaliation against Seoul's missile shield plan.

In July, South Korea and the U.S. announced a plan to station the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery this year to defend against growing missile threats from North Korea. China has argued that its strong radar system could hurt its strategic security interest.

China has recently increased restrictions on products and pop culture from South Korea, which Beijing says have little to do with the diplomatic feud.

"Necessary measures are being discussed in the government," Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told reporters in a press meeting. "If our government determines that it is necessary, countermeasures will be taken in an appropriate manner."

He said that efforts should be made to determine the "exact" reason and nature of actions before preparing such countermeasures, adding that much of the process has been completed.

Media reports showed China has banned South Korean hallyu stars from appearing on its TV shows and rejected a request by airlines to operate planes bound for South Korea. Beijing has also reportedly decided not to provide state subsidies to environment-friendly cars equipped with Korean-made batteries.

The Seoul government sees Beijing engaged in veiled retaliation for the THAAD deployment. But in a meeting with South Korean reporters in Beijing last month, a Chinese official handling Korean affairs denied any state involvement in such measures.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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