China, SKorea mending fences over THAAD

- Reuters, SEOUL/BEIJING

Nov 1, 2017-

Seoul and Beijing have agreed to work swiftly to get their relations back on track following a year-long standoff over the deployment of a US anti-missile system in South Korea which hurt trade and South Korean business interests in China.

The installation of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea had angered China, which believed its powerful radar could be used to look inside its territory. South Korea and the United States have repeatedly said THAAD only serves to defend against the growing missile threat from North Korea.

“Both sides shared the view that the strengthening of exchange and cooperation between Korea and China serves their common interests and agreed to expeditiously bring exchange and cooperation in all areas back on a normal development track,” South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. 

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in will hold a summit meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an upcoming summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation countries in Vietnam on Nov. 10-11, a Blue House official said in a separate briefing on Tuesday.

In a coordinated statement, China’s foreign ministry said the two countries have agreed to get their relations back onto a normal track “at an early date”. 

South Korea recognises China’s concerns on the THAAD issue and made it clear that the deployment was not aimed at any third country and did not harm China’s strategic security interests, China’s foreign ministry said.

China reiterated its opposition to the deployment of THAAD, but took note of South Korea’s position and hopes South Korea can appropriately handle the issue, it added. South Korean companies operating in China have suffered since the spat erupted last year, although Beijing has never specifically linked its actions to the THAAD deployment.

 

200 dead in tunnel accident at NKorea N-test site: Report

TOKYO: More than 200 people are feared to have died when a tunnel caved in at North Korea’s nuclear test site after its latest detonation, a Japanese news report said on Tuesday.

A tunnel collapsed at Punggye-ri in early September, days after North Korea conducted its sixth and largest underground nuclear test on September 3, TV Asahi said, quoting unnamed North Korean sources. Some 100 workers were involved in an initial collapse. Another cave-in occurred during rescue operations, leaving at least 200 people feared dead in total, the Japanese broadcaster said.

The accident was triggered by the test, TV Asahi added. Experts have warned that the underground tests could cause the mountain to collapse and leak radiation into the atmosphere near China’s border. The blast caused a 6.3-magnitude earthquake, according to the US Geological Survey, followed a few minutes later by another with a magnitude of 4.1.

Lotte Group, which provided the land where THAAD was installed, has suffered most. It faces a costly overhaul and is expected to sell its Chinese hypermarket stores for a fraction of what it invested. Hopes have been growing for a thaw in the frosty bilateral ties following China’s all-important Congress Party conclave, during which President Xi Jinping cemented his status as China’s most powerful leader after Mao Zedong.

Published: 01-11-2017 11:25

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