South Korean officials have said that the country will make its own decision on strengthening security and is not going to suspend the operation of the THAAD anti-missile system. This was reported by the journalists of the American edition of Defense News.
Recall that these systems caused the aggravation of relations between Seoul and Beijing in 2017. THAAD was deployed in response to nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. This decision of the South Korean authorities caused an angry reaction from China, which is afraid of reorienting this system to its territory. Beijing has suspended tours of Chinese groups to South Korea and imposed restrictions on the South Korean supermarket chain Lotte, which provided land to host these missile systems.
Let us clarify that the previous South Korean government headed by the President Moon Jae-in sought to establish diplomatic relations with its closest neighbors. To do this, the “Three Nos” policy was proclaimed – Seoul will not deploy any additional THAAD systems; will not participate in a US-led missile defense deployment; and will not form a tripartite military alliance with Washington and Tokyo.
However, Moon Jae-in’s more conservative successor Yoon Seok Yeol rejected the previous approach and formed a partnership with the United States, declaring a willingness to acquire more American anti-missile systems. This statement once again aggravated relations between China and South Korea.
At a recent meeting of foreign ministers, Beijing called on Seoul so that this problem does not affect relations between the two states. Both sides must remain “independent, free from external obstacles and influences,” the diplomats decided.
“We must maintain a mutually beneficial position to protect stable and uninterrupted supply chains and industrial networks, and must not interfere in each other’s internal affairs on the basis of equality and respect,” Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said.
Head of the Center for Military Diplomatic Analysis and Assessments, Doctor of Historical Sciences Vladimir Vinokurov believes that despite attempts to normalize diplomatic relations between China and South Korea, the current foreign policy situation dictates the need for Beijing to respond harshly to any encroachments in the security sphere.
“PRC is now focusing its efforts against Taiwan becoming a US aircraft carrier in Southeast Asia. <…> Now, I believe, China will react very harshly to everything that happens along the perimeter of its borders, near the territory and in the waters surrounding the mainland of China and Taiwan, ”the expert said.
Earlier, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joanne Ou said that Taipei refuses to accept China’s “one country, two systems” model. She stressed that only the people are able to decide the future of the country.