The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday that it is keeping close tabs on any possible escalation of retaliation by China against South Korea over its deployment of additional launchers for the U.S. THAAD missile defense system.
Earlier, the defense ministry here announced that the deployment of four launchers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery, in addition to the two already in operation on a U.S. base in Seongju, 300 kilometers south of Seoul, has been completed. It described it as a "tentative" step to counter the growing threats from North Korea.
China has strongly opposed the THAAD installation, saying it could hurt its strategic security interests. It has taken retaliatory steps against South Korean businesses.
"The government will not make any hasty predictions but will keep a close eye on the situation," Cho June-hyuck, foreign ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.
"The government, for its part, will continue to make efforts to negate the challenges that our people and businesses have to suffer, and will do this via close communications, including high-level talks," he added.
He reaffirmed the government's position that the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system is intended to better cope with the evolving nuclear and missile threats from the North.
"The difference in opinions over the THAAD deployment issue (between South Korea and China) has been a challenge to our bilateral ties," the spokesman said, "but our government's push to advance relations into that of a substantial strategic cooperative partnership remains unchanged."
Kim Jung-mi firstname.lastname@example.org
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