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Chinese FM calls for S. Korea to halt THAAD deployment

All Headlines 04:19 January 05, 2017

BEIJING, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- China's top diplomat called Wednesday for South Korea to halt the planned deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system when he met with a group of South Korean opposition lawmakers, according to the legislators.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the appeal, saying China doesn't want relations with South Korea to move backward, but it would be unimaginable for the country to say it wants to expand the relations when Seoul says it intends to accelerate THAAD's deployment, according to the lawmakers.

Wang also said that Chinese leaders are trying to fulfill South Korea's security interests, and he hopes South Korea will also consider the balance in China's security, according to the seven opposition Minjoo Party lawmakers led by Rep. Song Young-gil.

South Korea and the U.S. decided in July to deploy a THAAD battery to cope with missile threats from North Korea.

China has strongly called for scrapping the decision, seeing THAAD, especially its powerful "X-band" radar, as a threat to its nuclear deterrent and other security interests, despite repeated assurances from Washington that the system is designed only to defend against the North.

Wang was also quoted as telling the lawmakers that there should be no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, and the North Korean nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue. As to the possibility of a North Korean nuclear test, Wang said China's keeping an eye on the issue.

He also told the lawmakers that China resolutely opposes the North's nuclear program and its nuclear test, and agreed to adopt a U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution, rejecting criticism that China isn't doing its part properly in resolving the issue.

Should the sanctions be implemented earnestly, the North may rethink denuclearization, Wang said. He also said China has been sincerely carrying out the sanctions and will continue to do so, according to the lawmakers.

Rep. Song Young-gil (L) of South Korea's Minjoo Party speaks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Jan. 4. (Yonhap)

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