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S. Korea dismisses China's concern on THAAD deployment

All Headlines 15:21 January 03, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reaffirmed on Tuesday that the planned deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system on its soil is a matter of national security, dismissing China's concerns that the deployment could target it.

South Korea and the United States announced a plan in July to install a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in a bid to better defend against growing threats from North Korea. China strongly opposed the plan, saying that its strong radar system could hurt its strategic security interest.

"THAAD deployment is a sovereign and self-defense action aimed at protecting our people's safety and lives from the evolving nuclear and missile threats from the North," Cho June-hyck, foreign ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

"This is a grave matter of national security for which the government and the ruling and opposition parties should share a consensus and responsibility," he added.

His remarks came in response to a question about a visit by eight South Korean lawmakers to China this week to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. They are expected to talk about the THAAD issue.

The spokesman said that the ministry is keeping a close eye on the lawmakers' trip and having necessary communication with them.

Though it denies any official involvement, China appears to be ramping up diverse retaliatory steps, such as putting restrictions on trade and banning South Korean stars from appearing on its TV shows. On Monday, Wang Yi said in an op-ed story that objection to the THAAD deployment is one of the ministry's key policies for this year.

Against the growing pressure from China to cancel the THAAD deployment, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told reporters Monday that the government is mulling necessary countermeasures.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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