China blames South Korea's Park Geun-hye for THAAD


March 10 (UPI) — China blamed impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye for creating friction in the bilateral relation following a Seoul court decision to remove Park from office on Friday.

Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters at a regular press briefing Park had “done a lot” for China-South Korea relations, South Korean news service CBS No Cut News reported.

But the statement was followed with a criticism of Park’s decision to jointly deploy the U.S. missile defense system THAAD on the peninsula, a policy that has been met with strong opposition in Beijing.

“Former President Park has done a lot of work for China-South Korea relations, but influenced the development bilateral ties with her decision on THAAD deployment,” Geng said.

China has protested the decision with retaliatory measures against South Korean businesses like Lotte, the conglomerate that agreed to provide a THAAD site in central South Korea in 2016.

Geng’s statements also indicated China, which is not a democracy, viewed the months of protests in South Korea as dangerous and disruptive.

“We hope our neighbor South Korea will soon regain political stability,” Geng said.

In Seoul, China’s Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong met with South Korean lawmakers following the court decision.

Eyeing a possible opportunity to influence South Korea policymaking in the days ahead, Qiu reportedly called for “leaving room for a discussion between China and South Korea” even if “immediately canceling THAAD deployment is difficult.”

The court decision does not affect plans for THAAD deployment in South Korea, according to Seoul and Washington, and the current South Korea administration has 60 days to implement the policy.

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