South Korea's ruling party on Wednesday strongly condemned a Chinese envoy's warning that the planned deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-ballistic missile defense system in South Korea could hurt Seoul-Beijing ties.
Qiu Guohong, China's ambassador to Seoul, said Tuesday that the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system "could destroy bilateral relations in an instant." The remarks were made during his meeting with an interim chairman of South Korea's main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea.
"The issue of THAAD deployment should be solely decided by the Republic of Korea (South Korea) from the perspective of national interests and the safety of our people," Won Yoo-cheol, floor leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, said during a meeting of senior party members.
Qiu's public warning is in line with China's opposition to the system that Seoul and Washington says is purely defensive designed only to counter ballistic missile threats from North Korea.
Still, China is concerned that the radar of the U.S. missile defense system could monitor military facilities within its borders.
"(The envoy's) remarks were rude and unreasonable as they completely disregarded the sovereignty and the security of the Republic of Korea," Won said.
Qiu said the THAAD deployment could undo progress made between South Korea and China, claiming that the THAAD deployment greatly influences China's national interests.
The Saenuri floor leader further urged China to change its stance, saying that other countries besides China also have the right to their national security.
"China operates missile technology that can even reach (the U.S. state of) Alaska," Won said.
South Korea and the United States have delayed the launch of formal talks on the THAAD deployment. Some sources said the postponement was made at the request of the U.S. side, though no clear reason was given. (Yonhap)