US THAAD missiles not an obstacle for China-S.Korea ties: Beijing
The US deployment of THAAD missiles has caused concern among Beijing and Seoul officials, as China claims they undermine its strategic security, but that they won't put a strain on Beijing-Seoul ties.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Friday that Beijing could not ignore the deployment of US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, known as THAAD, systems in South Korea, as it threatens China's strategic security.
THAAD is an anti-ballistic missile defense system that has the capacity of shooting down incoming short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The deployment of additional THAAD missiles in South Korea was an initiative proposed by President Yoon Suk-yeol in January, when he was still a candidate for the top post.
"China has always respected South Korea's sovereignty and understood its security concerns, but the US deployment of THAAD missile systems in South Korea undermines China's strategic security, and Beijing cannot ignore this," Wang told a press briefing.
The heads of foreign ministries of South Korea and China met in Qingdao earlier this week and exchanged views on the THAAD matter. The countries agreed that this matter should not be an obstacle between Beijing and Seoul.
"We hope that the South Korean side will continue to properly resolve this issue in accordance with the mutual understanding and consensus reached at the meeting of foreign ministers of the two countries," Wang added.
The largest defense contractor in the United States, Lockheed Martin, even expects an increase in THAAD production demands with Saudi Arabia joining in.