Chinese, South Korean defence chiefs hold first talks in 2 years: Report

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test. PHOTO: REUTERS

CLARK, PHILIPPINES (AFP) - The defence chiefs of China and South Korea held their first talks in nearly two years on Tuesday (Oct 24), meeting at a security forum in the Philippines, Yonhap news agency reported.

The talks come at a time of bilateral tensions, with China opposed to South Korea's deployment of a US anti-missile system, but the two nations are also looking to help defuse the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Neither side immediately released details about the reported meeting between South Korean defence minister Song Young Moo and his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan, on the sidelines of the forum hosted by Asean.

But Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, said it lasted for about half an hour, and raised the prospect of the two nations looking to mend relations following Seoul's deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) anti-missile system.

Seoul insists it needs Thaad to guard against North Korea's missile threats, but China sees it as a threat to its own security.

South Korea announced last month it would deploy more of the Thaad systems after the North's sixth nuclear test and a series of missile launches that sparked global alarm.

Two launchers are already operational and since late last year China - the South's top trading partner - has taken a series of measures against South Korean businesses, seen by Seoul as unofficial economic retaliation.

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