The Korea Herald


After Trump summit, Xi likely to up pressure on Moon over THAAD: expert

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : July 3, 2017 - 18:37

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With President Moon Jae-in having reaffirmed the deployment of a US missile shield here, China is likely to step up pressure at an upcoming summit with South Korea, including through additional retaliation, an expert said Monday.

During his four-day visit to Washington, Moon reassured US congressional leaders on the Terminal Altitude Area Defense system installation by saying that he believes the system is “necessary for the defense of the people of both countries.”
(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

Moon is expected to face obstacles during his talk with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit next week, experts said.

According to China’s Xinhua news agency on Monday, Xi said that “the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense installation jeopardizes the strategic balance in the region and is unhelpful to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and maintaining regional peace and stability,” in an interview with Russian media outlet.

“New tension is expected to surface among Seoul, Washington and Beijing, with the former two nations continuously stressing Beijing’s role in luring Pyongyang back into the denuclearization dialogue to increase effectiveness of the North Korean sanctions,” Chung Jae-heung, a researcher at Sejong Institute said at a forum hosted in Seoul by the think tank.

Chung also underlined that the upcoming G-20 summit will be a battleground between Moon and Xi over North Korea and renewed Seoul-Washington alliance.

“With the G-20 summit next week, the relationship between Seoul and Beijing is expected to further deteriorate if South Korea refuses to call off THAAD deployment,” he said.

“There is a possibility that President Moon will ask China to stop its unfair meddling in South Korea’s sovereign issues, such as THAAD deployment and retaliations.”

“On the other hand, Xi is expected to call for the Moon administration’s swift action in scrapping THAAD accord, while including other diplomatic and security issues on the agenda such as strengthening ties with Russia, recovery of Beijing-Pyongyang ties, and installation of advanced weapons near the peninsula.”

Chung advised the Moon administration to devise more detailed tactics in dealing with Pyongyang, Washington, and Beijing. He asserted that the uncertainties surrounding THAAD and Seoul’s diplomatic ties might worsen the security landscape.

“It is crucial to draw a solution based on a realistic understanding of the current mood surrounding the peninsula and the direction the Seoul-Washington relationship is heading,” he said.

The US Trump administration’s decision to blacklist China’s Dandong Bank as a “primary money laundering concern,” which came in time with the Seoul-Washington summit, is also likely to trigger Chinese retaliation against US and South Korea, Chung said.

“China is expected to retaliate against the US by tightening economic sanctions against US businesses within the nation,” Chung said.

“Following the US sanctions against Dandong Bank, the three nations will face more difficulties in establishing common ground on North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues.”

“Meanwhile, North Korea’s missile capabilities are expected to grow stronger.”

During the summit in Washington, Moon promised US President Donald Trump that the current halt over THAAD deployment here is not aimed to upend its deployment. Trump also “understood” Seoul’s need to ensure “procedural legitimacy” by conducting an environmental review of the THAAD battery site.

“We’d decided it would be wise not to specify the conditions at this point. … As President Trump said, we would have to use our senses to determine it given the shifting political situation,” Moon said to the reporters in Washington on Saturday.

By Jung Min-kyung (