South Korea Wednesday dismissed China’s warning that the planned deployment of a US missile defence system could damage ties, stressing that it was to counter “growing threats” from North Korea.

“The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system (THAAD) is a measure of self-defence against growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea,” presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-Guk said.

Jeong said the issue would be “decided in accordance with security and national interests,” adding that “China will have to recognise the point.”

The remarks came after Chinese ambassador Qiu Guohong warned Tuesday that installation of the THAAD system on the Korean Peninsula could “destroy” relations between Beijing and Seoul.

Qiu, in a meeting with Kim Jong-In, the leader of opposition Minju party, also warned that it would be “hard” to mend the ties once damaged, the party spokesman said Tuesday.

China has repeatedly protested since Washington and Seoul announced plans to deploy the missile defence in the South, in response to North Korea’s recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

But Tuesday was the first time that a Chinese diplomat or official has warned of the effect on diplomatic ties with Seoul.

South Korea’s foreign ministry summoned Qiu to make him clarify the comment, Yonhap news agency said, citing a ministry official.

“Qiu sincerely clarified the circumstances around the meeting (with Kim)…and what he actually said then,” the official quoted by Yonhap said without elaborating further.

The THAAD system fires anti-ballistic missiles to smash into enemy missiles either inside or outside the Earth’s atmosphere during their final flight phase.

The interceptor missiles carry no warheads, instead relying on kinetic energy to destroy their targets.

The allies announced their intention to begin talks on its deployment following Pyongyang’s long-range rocket launch on February 7, which was seen by the US and its allies as a covert ballistic missile test.

South Korea’s defence ministry said it expects official talks on THAAD to begin next week.

  • John Allard

    China should reign in North Korea if it really wants to avoid a strategic defense system on their border. They need to ask themselves just how much the value having a buffer state between themselves and the Americans.

    THAAD is a system of a defensive nature, China has no right to threaten or coerce a nation like South Korea, instead they should be looking for ways to support the ROK, not intimidate it.

    The Chinese are slowly going to turn that entire neighborhood against them, China will do more to help keep the US in the region than the US could ever accomplish on its own. The Chinese are their own worst enemies.

  • Simple_Comment

    SKorea deserved the right for self-defense from tyrrant NKorean dictator as a sovereign state. China appears applying similar Russian logic in Europe where anti-ballistic missile defense system is in-placed as detrimental to its national security. China hasn't realize himself as perpetrator in militarizing islands belonging to Asian countries just like a dagger to their brains. China by indirect definition could have been reponsible for NKorean nuclear and ballistic missile development for providing massive financial and logistic support despite of the country economic slump. Facts behind relentless support to NKorean may have something to do with having a nuclear armed ally in the region in pursuit of 9-dash line policy.