01 June 2017

News Story: S. Korea needs to persuade China over THAAD row - expert

SEJONG, May 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea should convince China to accept the ongoing deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense shield on its soil instead of trying to reverse the move, which could send the wrong signals to both Washington and Beijing, a scholar has said.

The installation of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery has been under way at a former golf course in southeastern South Korea since early March.

Seoul and Washington say the move is aimed at better countering missile threats from North Korea, while China insists that it will hurt its strategic security interests and has taken what appear to be retaliatory steps against South Korean businesses.

In its May report on the North Korean economy, the state-run Korea Development Institute (KDI) carried the scholar's claim made during a recent forum on South Korea's strategy to deal with the changing order in East Asia.

"The cancellation of the THAAD deployment could make China believe that South Korea is susceptible to outside pressure. It could send Washington a message that Seoul may not stand by it in a crunch," said Lee Sang-hyun, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute in Seoul.

"South Korea has no choice but to take its time and persuade China over the need for the THAAD installment. It also needs to review Beijing's possible demands in order to help resolve the issue."

Specifically, Seoul and Washington should convince China that the allies will not push for an additional deployment of THAAD equipment, and that it is unrelated to America's broader missile defense system, Lee said.

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