China’s concerns over deployment of the US THAAD missile defense system in South Korea are misplaced, top South Korean officials said on Thursday, adding that Beijing doesn’t seem to understand that the system is only aimed at fending off the North Korean missile threat.
Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam said South Korea had explained to China that the THAAD system is being deployed to defend against the North Korean threat but Beijing does not appear to fully understand that point, Reuters reports.
South Korean firms feel they are being retaliated against in China because of Beijing’s objections to the deployment of the missile system, which China sees as a threat to its security.
Answering questions from members of parliament, Lim said Lotte Group had seen pressure from China with several of its stores closed, and that South Korean flight and tourism operators have also faced discriminatory tactics from China.
“We have not made an official calculation on the financial damage that could potentially result from China’s actions, but if this continues it could have a significant impact,” the Korean vice foreign minister said.
Defense Minister Han Min-koo also told parliament that China’s concern about the THAAD system’s radar was unfounded.
“The THAAD system is the most minimum defense mechanism against North Korea’s nuclear missile threats. China has been overly assessing the radar and excessively protesting against its deployment,” Han told lawmakers.
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