The Chinese government is showing a two-faced attitude with regard to THAAD system deployment in the Korean Peninsula. Specifically, it is trying to control public opinions by discussing the issue with South Korean lawmakers while making no response at all to the South Korean government’s official letters and proposals to have a negotiation.
In China, this year’s first holiday season is scheduled for January 27 to February 2. South Korean and Chinese airlines planned to provide chartered flights during the period for Chinese tourists to visit South Korea. The Chinese government did not approve of the plan though. Then, the South Korean government asked for an explanation but the Chinese government has yet to answer it.
Back in October last year, the South Korean government tried to have a working-level meeting with the Chinese government immediately after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly in Montreal, Canada in order to discuss turning some irregular flights into regular flights in step with an increase in air traffic between South Korea and China. The Chinese government, however, boycotted the meeting that had been held both in 2014 and 2015 by not responding to the request.
On the other hand, Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Kong Xuanyou and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi met with seven South Korean opposition lawmakers in Beijing on January 4 and discussed the THAAD deployment issue. There, the lawmakers asked them to allow the chartered flights to be provided during the holiday season and stop discriminating against the batteries supplied by Samsung SDI and LG Chem. In addition, the Chinese minister and assistant minister are said to have admitted in a roundabout way that those measures do not have nothing to do with THAAD deployment.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea, in the meantime, summoned Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong and sent some messages regarding the Chinese government’s measures against THAAD deployment and its meeting with the opposition lawmakers. The ministry also said in a press briefing that THAAD deployment in the peninsula is a sovereign self-defense measure for protection from North Korean nuclear and missile threats.