China intensifying THAAD retaliation

China may continue to ratchet up its retaliation against South Korea over Seoul’s decision to allow the deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery here, analysts said Monday.

In what was likely a retaliatory maneuver last week, Beijing abruptly banned South Korean airlines from operating chartered flights between the two countries beginning this month. Chinese airlines also withdrew their plan to run chartered flights to Korea.

Analysts said China may expand its political attacks on Korea to foreign affairs and security policies, although it is likely to wait until after the presidential election here this year.

Beijing’s moves against the THAAD deployment initially centered on Chinese tourists to Korea and the Korean celebrities performing in China, but of late have included trade and business, such as tax audits and safety inspections of Lotte Group’s operations in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Shenyang.

Lotte exchanged its golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, for other land to house the THAAD battery.

“I would say China bets that a candidate from the opposition bloc will win in Korea’s presidential election,” said Park Won-gon, an international relations professor at Handong Global University. “China wants to put pressure on the opposition to cancel the THAAD deployment if it takes over the government.”

The DPK said the Park Geun-hye administration should “toss the ball to its successor” concerning THAAD-related issues, citing that the National Assembly had impeached the President and that she had lost support from the majority of the people.

“As a warning to the opposition, China may impose a couple more measures against Korea before the Constitutional Court makes its decision on whether to uphold the impeachment motion or not.” Park Won-gon said.

Park Won-gon said it will not be easy for China to play the North Korea card and loosen the noose on Pyongyang in opposition to the U.N. Security Council’s nuclear sanctions.

“It will be too risky for Beijing to defy the U.N. and also disrupt its relations with the U.S. as well as other global powers over the THAAD issue,” he said.

Full article: China intensifying THAAD retaliation (The Korea Times)

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