Top S.Korean presidential candidate demands China stop retaliation over THAAD


Reuters

UPDATE 1-Top S.Korean presidential candidate demands China stop retaliation over THAAD


(Adds quote from presidential candidate, details)
    By Jack Kim and Christine KimSEOUL, March 14 (Reuters) - The South Korean politician
expected to become its next president, Moon Jae-in, called on
China on Tuesday to stop economic retaliation against South
Korean firms over the deployment of a U.S. missile-defence
system.
    Moon, speaking in a debate with other presidential
contenders from the main opposition Democratic Party, said South
Korea must stand up to China and protest against any unjust
moves, but also make diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue.
    "We should complain about what needs to be complained about
and we should make diplomatic efforts to persuade China," Moon
said.
    "It is also not desirable for China to harm our relationship
with excessive retaliation," Moon said.
    "I call on China to immediately stop".
    China has increased pressure, and imposed some restrictions,
on some companies doing business with and in South Korea, which
many in South Korea perceive as retaliation for deployment of
the missile system.
    But Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said on Monday that South
Korea did not have firm evidence of Chinese retaliation and
China has not directly said it is targeting South Korean firms.
    South Korea will hold a presidential election by May 9 after
the impeachment and dismissal last week of its former president,
Park Geun-hye.
    The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile
system is likely to be contentious issues in the campaign.
    Moon, a human rights lawyer and prominent liberal politician
who has been leading in opinion polls, said the government had
mishandled the deployment plan by rushing into it and without
public consensus.
    China is vehemently opposed to South Korea's agreement with
the United States to deploy the THAAD system in the South
against North Korea's missile threat.
    The United States and South Korea say THAAD is for defence
against North Korea, but China fears its powerful radar can
probe deep into its territory and compromise its security.
    The United States began to deploy the system a week ago, a
day after North Korea test-fired four missiles.
    Russia also worries the deployment could compromise its
security, and said it would lead to a stalemate on the Korean
peninsula.


 (Writing by James Pearson; Editing by Robert Birsel and Michael
Perry)
 ((jack.kim@thomsonreuters.com; +822 3704 5645; Reuters
Messaging: jack.kim.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: SOUTHKOREA CHINA/ (UPDATE 1)



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