The ASEAN Regional Forum kicked off in Vientiane, Laos on July 24. There, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi expressed his vehement objection to the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea.
In response, South Korean foreign minister Yun Byung-se explained the South Korean government’s reasons for its decision, stressing that the THAAD system in the country is a defense against the North Korean nuclear threat and does not aim at any other countries.
The South Korean foreign minister had talks with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, too. They discussed various issues including the comfort women foundation, which is scheduled to be established on July 28.
In their meeting, the South Korean and Chinese foreign ministers reconfirmed the urgency of North Korean denuclearization and their will to adhere to the UN Security Council Resolution 2270. This is expected to be reflected in the joint statement that is to be adopted at the end of the forum.
In the meantime, North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho met with his Chinese counterpart for the first time in two years at the forum. Experts are pointing out that the North is likely to make use of the forum for better relations with Beijing and for the lifting of the sanction. Foreign minister Ri already met with the Laotian foreign minister and is scheduled to have meetings with Russia, Japan, etc.