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Main opposition calls for resolution of THAAD tension with China

All Headlines 10:50 January 06, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's main opposition party on Friday called on the government to mend ties with China, defending its lawmakers' visit to Beijing to discuss diplomatic tension over Seoul's plan to deploy a U.S. missile defense system.

Seven Democratic Party members visited China this week and met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and other officials and experts.

"Our cultural, tourism and car battery firms are on the verge of facing great regulations from China. Our visit, intended to help those companies, is not a betrayal of the country," said Rep. Woo Sang-ho, the floor leader of the main opposition. "It was economic diplomacy by lawmakers."

Conservative politicians, including potential presidential contender Rep. Yoo Seong-min from the planned New Conservative Party for Reform, claimed the visit was a humiliating breach of South Korea's sovereignty.

Woo said he seems "out of his mind," adding those who make such remarks do not deserve to run as a presidential candidate.

Beijing has recently curbed Korean imports, businesses and artists in apparent retaliation against Seoul's planned installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) aimed at coping with North Korea's provocations.

Beijing claims the deployment is intended to target China as well and will escalate regional tension. China has been hinting that it will retaliate economically if Seoul actually deploys the THAAD battery this year.

Liberal opposition parties object to the THAAD plan, saying it won't work effectively in defending against the North's missile attacks and will only damage Seoul's relationship with its top trading partner.

Rep. Woo Sang-ho, the floor leader of the main opposition party (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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