Posted August. 08, 2017 07:08,
Updated August. 08, 2017 07:24
While the nuclear and missile issue of North Korea emerged as a hot topic in the forum, the Chinese foreign minister put pressure on South Korea with tough remarks, taking issue with the plan to deploy the anti-missile defense system known as THAAD. As a result, cooperation between the two countries over North Korea’s nuclear issue was pushed onto the back burner. Some expressed concerns that Beijing, which joined sanctions against the North due to Washington’s pressure, would disregard Seoul in dealing with the nuclear issue.
THAAD accounted for a significant portion of the South Korea-China ministerial talks as released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Sunday night. Chinese Minister Wang Yi said in the opening remark during the talks, “THAAD threw cold water on the South Korea-China relations.” He said throughout the talks, “Remove challenges and obstacles in the development of the bilateral relationship.” He also made aggressive comments, by saying, “North Korea launched an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) and why do you deploy THAAD? Can THAAD block ICBMs? The answer is very clear. It’s impossible.”
North Korea’s nuclear and missile issue was not mentioned in the opening remark at all. The talks released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry shows only one sentence in the last part. It was a kind of admonition, “(You) should refrain from escalating tensions in turn (with Washington).”
Amid concerns that Washington might ignore South Korea, some raise concern that even Beijing would not recognize Seoul as a partner to address the North Korean issue. China’s state-run Global Times said in an editorial, “While not playing a constructive role in North Korea’s nuclear issue, Seoul showed a miniature of a careless, foolish and unconstructive behavior by bringing in THAAD.” Some say that Chinese Minister Wang Yi’s comment that China is the one who pays the price for sanctions (against the North) reflects that China is uncomfortable with the THAAD deployment.