China open to military ties with SK based on ‘mutual respect’

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/1/9 22:08:39

China would like to cooperate with South Korea based on the mutual respect of security interests, following reports that China suspended military exchanges between the two countries due to South Korea's deployment of the US missile defense system.

South Korea's JoongAng Daily reported Monday that "at least seven joint military events" between South Korea and China have been cancelled since Seoul agreed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD system, on the peninsula, citing a government source.

China's Defense Ministry told the Global Times on Monday that "China treats cooperation with South Korea seriously, and would like to cooperate with South Korea based on the mutual respect of security interests."

"All official interactions between the South Korean and Chinese militaries came to a halt in the latter half of last year," a South Korean government source told JoongAng.

"This comes even after the two countries signed an agreement in 2011 to step up bilateral military cooperation, as well as a 2015 agreement to establish a hotline between the defense ministers."

On THAAD, China's Defense Ministry added that "China's opposition to THAAD remains, and we hope South Korea values the cooperation between both armies and makes the right decision for regional peace and stability, and provides conditions for further cooperation between the two armies."

Wang Junsheng, a researcher on East Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday that military cooperation and exchange between China and South Korea has been affected by the US and North Korea, so the level of cooperation was not high.

"But cooperation was also positive for maintaining regional peace and stability, and at least both armies can improve mutual understanding and implement a communication mechanism when emergencies strike," Wang said.

"Since the THAAD issue surfaced, China-South Korea military cooperation has been heavily affected, and if THAAD is deployed in South Korea, the two armies may confront each other," Wang said, adding "China is not the one who damaged the relationship between the armies."




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