China's response to Thaad does not warrant action: Seoul

SEOUL • South Korea's finance minister said yesterday that China had not taken any retaliatory measures over plans to deploy a US anti-missile system that warranted official action, although Seoul is ready to lodge a formal complaint if needed.

Finance Minister Yoo Il Ho was answering questions from legislators on whether China was taking action against South Korean firms for the planned deployment later this year of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) system.

China is worried that the system's radar can penetrate its territory, and has objected to the deployment.

"If China officially takes unfair action against South Korea, we would openly move against it. But as long as China says its moves are not related to Thaad, but rather, local measures at home, the South Korean government cannot accuse China of retaliating," said Mr Yoo.

South Korea's Lotte Group said on Wednesday that the Chinese authorities had halted construction at a multibillion-dollar property project in the north-eastern city of Shenyang after a fire inspection. Mr Yoo said Lotte executives had told the government the Chinese decision was not directly linked to Thaad.

Hours before his appearance at Parliament, the Bank of Korea said the number of Chinese tourists going to South Korea's tourist island of Jeju had fallen 6.7 per cent over the Chinese New Year holiday from last year. The central bank said in a report that the drop was partly due to China's "anti-South Korea measures due to the Thaad deployment decision".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'China's response to Thaad does not warrant action: Seoul'. Print Edition | Subscribe