SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean authorities confused on Wednesday that they could make their personal choices to bolster their defenses against North Korean threats, rejecting calls from China to sue former authorities’ insurance policies. Seoul who had strongly avoided including additional anti-Americans. missile batteries. to Beijing.
The swings between South Korea and China highlighted a re-emerging rift between the nations just a day after their top diplomats met in Japanese China, and expressed hope that the issue will not turn into a ” stumbling block” in relationships.
Bilateral relations took a major hit in 2017 when South Korea installed a missile battery using the US High Altitude Space Protection System, or THAAD, in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. North.
The move prompted an outraged reaction from China, which said the anti-missile system could be reconfigured to take care of its territory. Beijing retaliated by suspending Chinese-language group tours in South Korea and eliminating the Chinese-language business of major South Korean grocery store Lotte, which provides land for the missile system.
Former South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a liberal seeking interaction with North Korea, tried to restore relations with Beijing by promising the “three no’s”: Seoul would not placement of additional THAAD programs; will not be part of US-led missile protection networks; It would not form a tripartite naval alliance with Washington and Tokyo.
Moon’s dove method was rejected by his conservative successor, Yoon Suk Yeol, who promised enhanced security cooperation with Washington and expressed willingness to purchase additional THAAD batteries to speed up Korea’s efforts of the North to develop its nuclear weapons and missile applications.
Speaking about the meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his South Korean counterpart Park Jin on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin reiterated Beijing’s position that the THAAD system in South Korea undermines its “strategic security objectives”.
He added that Seoul engaged in a “Three Nos and One Restrict” blanket, with the latter apparently referring to the THAAD Battery’s commitment to restricting its operations, which Seoul has never publicly acknowledged.
“The two international ministers had another profound change of perspective on the THAAD situation, clarifying their respective positions and enhancing mutual understanding,” Wang said. Mentioned. The ministers said they had agreed to “give importance to each other’s genuine considerations and continue to treat and manage the file with caution” to prevent it from becoming ” stumbling block” in bilateral relations.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it understood Wang was referring to lunar authority insurance policies with the phrase “Three nos and one restriction.”
He said authorities in Yoon claimed that THAAD was a protective instrument to protect the lives and property of South Koreans and that it was a national security issue that Seoul did not want to negotiate with Beijing. He also insisted that “Three Nos” was in no way a proper settlement or promise.
“Throughout the meeting, both sides confirmed their differences on the THAAD situation, but also agreed that the issue should not become an obstacle affecting relations between nations,” the ministry said.
South Korea, a longtime US ally, is struggling to find stability between the United States and the increasingly assertive international cover of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government.
Deepening disputes between Washington and Beijing on a variety of issues, as well as Taiwan, Hong Kong, China’s trade and claims to giant swathes of the South and East China Seas have raised fears in Seoul that it is caught between an allied treaty and the larger one. change partners.
In a meeting with Park, Wang Yi said nations should be “free from international interference” and never interfere in each other’s internal affairs.
Wang also urged countries to work together to maintain stable industrial supply chains; It’s a possible reference to fears that the cover of Chinese technology and US security controls could divide the world into separate markets with incompatible requirements and products, slowing innovation and rising prices. South Korea is under pressure from the Biden administration to forge a US-led semiconductor alliance that includes Taiwan and Japan, which China opposes.
Related Press video producer Liu Zheng in Beijing contributed to this report.