SEOUL: China has blamed South Korea for damaging “mutual trust” with its planned deployment of an advanced US missile defense system in the face of Beijing’s opposition, Yonhap news agency said Monday.
Seoul and Washington announced earlier this month their decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the South following recent North Korean missile and nuclear tests.
The plan to deploy the powerful system, which fires projectiles to smash into enemy missiles, angered Beijing and Moscow, which both see it as a US bid to flex its military muscle in the region.
“The recent behavior from South Korea has undermined the foundation for our mutual trust,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters ahead of a meeting late Sunday with his South Korean counterpart on the sidelines of a regional forum in Vientiane, Laos.
“I will hear what kind of practical actions South Korea will take to protect the unwavering relations between us,” Yonhap quoted Wang as saying.
China is South Korea’s largest export market and also a key partner in Seoul’s efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
At the meeting, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se acknowledged challenges in bilateral relations, but stressed that the THAAD deployment was purely defensive and posed no threat to China’s security interests, Yonhap said, citing an unnamed Korean government official.