South Korea, China mending fences over THAAD, Seoul says

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa suggested Monday new developments in relations between Seoul and Beijing could help the two governments turn a corner in the dispute over THAAD.

A dispute between China and South Korea over the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system THAAD may be resolved soon, Seoul said Monday. File Photo by Yonhap
A dispute between China and South Korea over the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system THAAD may be resolved soon, Seoul said Monday. File Photo by Yonhap

Speaking at a South Korean parliamentary audit, Kang told local lawmakers a summit between the Chinese and South Korean leaders in July and “frequent communications at all levels” are part of efforts to confront pending issues, Yonhap reported.

“We cannot make the relevant announcements at present for the sake of future developments, but we will soon,” Kang said. “I have already mentioned good measures will be implemented in the near future regarding THAAD and other pending issues…I think these measures will allow relations to overcome difficulties and return quickly to a track of normalization.”

Kang also said preparations are underway for a summit during the upcoming APEC summit, which is scheduled to take place Nov. 10-11.

Kang’s statements are supported by new measures China has decided to take, following the conclusion of Beijing’s 19th Communist Party Congress, South Korean news service Financial News reported Monday.

The party’s Korean peninsula task force had decided to address the issue of the deployment of U.S. missile defense in the South as an issue independent from more important economic relations between the countries, according to the report.

China’s largest online travel site Ctrip has also been in discussion with South Korea’s Lotte Hotel for business promotion.

Lotte had been the most obvious target of unofficial Chinese THAAD sanctions.

The hotel’s parent company Lotte Group was reportedly considering shutting down Lotte Mart, a $7 billion operation in China.

China has also signaled to Seoul interest in discussing denuclearization, according to South Korean news service News 1.

Seoul’s envoy to the six-party talks is to hold a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, South Korea’s foreign ministry said Monday.

By Elizabeth Shim