China Continues Moves Perceived as Retaliation for THAAD Deployment Decision open the window of AOD

Write : 2017-01-15


China is continuing what appear to be retaliatory actions over Seoul's push to deploy a U.S. THAAD antimissile system.

According to the Ministry of National Defense, around ten Chinese warplanes entered the Korean air defense identification zone(KADIZ) near the Ieodo Reef located southwest of Jeju Island several times on Monday.

The measure prompted a scramble of ten South Korean Air Force fighter jets, including F-15Ks and KF-16s, which delivered a warning message to the Chinese planes.

It is very rare for that many Chinese military planes to simultaneously violate the KADIZ for hours. In February of last year, two Chinese warplanes infiltrated the KADIZ, while three others were caught doing the same in August.

South Korea’s Defense Minister Han Min-koo told a parliamentary defense committee on Thursday that Seoul is not ruling out the possibility that the air intrusion is a move by Beijing to pressure Seoul over the scheduled deployment of a THAAD battery in the South.

South Korean cosmetics also joined a growing list of the targets in an unofficial retaliation by Beijing over a THAAD dispute.

Industry sources in China said that out of 28 beauty products that recently failed to receive import approval from the Chinese government, 19 were of South Korean brands.

In an editorial last week, China’s state-run newspaper, Global Times, said Beijing will not sacrifice its national interests due to cosmetics products, hinting that the measures against South Korean cosmetics were politically motivated.

Since South Korea and the U.S. announced a joint decision last July to deploy a THAAD battery in the South, China has publicly expressed its strong displeasure over the matter.
Experts say, however, Beijing has retaliated in a less overt way by making it more difficult for South Korean exporters to do business in China.

Such measures perceived to be taken in retaliation for the THAAD deployment decision also came in the form of anti-hallyu regulations or the tax audits on South Korean companies based in China. China also decided to extend antidumping duties on South Korean optical fibers by five more years.

Raising more concerns, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said through monthly policy journal Qiushi on Monday that the opposition to the THAAD deployment in South Korea will be among Beijing’s key foreign policy agendas this year.

In response, Seoul’s Defense Ministry stressed again that THAAD is a matter of sovereignty and part of the right to self-defense against the growing North Korean nuclear and missile threats, reaffirming that the country will move forward with the deployment plan as scheduled.

3.Seoul-Tokyo Tensions Rise over Girl Statue in Busan
Tensions between South Korea and Japan are rising over the installment of a girl statue representing wartime sex slaves in front of Tokyo's consulate in the port city of Busan.

In protest of Seoul's decision to allow the installment of the statue on December 31st, the Japanese Foreign Ministry temporarily recalled its ambassador on Monday.

Before boarding a flight to Japan at Gimpo International Airport, Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Yasumasa Nagamine expressed deep regret over the statue. Along with Nagamine, Japanese Consul General Yasuhiro Morimoto based in Busan also returned to Tokyo earlier on Monday.

Japan also suspended ongoing negotiations on a currency swap agreement with Seoul and called off a high-level economic cooperating meeting.

In an interview with Japan’s Kyodo News on Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pressed the South Korean government to resolve the situation, saying he expects Seoul to sincerely implement the December 2015 agreement on the wartime sex slavery issue as Tokyo did.

Regarding when Nagamine will return to South Korea, Abe said a decision will be made based on a comprehensive consideration of situations, hinting that he will make a decision based on South Korea’s actions.

Japanese media, meanwhile, reported Saturday that Abe will likely order the ambassador to return to South Korea this week.

Concerned about a further aggravation of Seoul-Tokyo relations, Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn warned against making inflammatory remarks that could worsen the situation.

In a Cabinet meeting in Seoul on Tuesday, Hwang urged the two governments and all concerned parties to observe the spirit of the 2015 settlement, noting that the deal calls for ensuring Japan's remorse and apology by acknowledging its military and its government's responsibility and restoring the victims' honor.

However, the South Korean opposition parties criticized Hwang, saying he appears to be ruling out renegotiations of the 2015 agreement.

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