Seoul may ditch inter-Korean military pact in event of Pyongyang’s nuclear test
By Kang Seung-woo
South Korea`s defense minister said, Thursday, a U.S. anti-missile shield, currently deployed on the Korean Peninsula, cannot operate to Washington’s advantage, rejecting China’s claim that the system’s radar can spy on its military maneuvers and undermine its security interests.
In addition, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup vowed to speed up the normalization of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system that has been operating as a temporary installation due to a prolonged environmental impact assessment and other reasons.
The deployment of the THAAD battery has emerged as a hot-button issue between Seoul and Beijing, as evidenced by their foreign ministerial meeting, Tuesday, where it topped the agenda.
“The THAAD issue has to do with our security and sovereignty and China’s assertion is not acceptable,” Lee said during a press conference at the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul.
“It seems more unreasonable if we change our THAAD plan due to China’s protest.”
His remarks came as the Chinese government urges the Yoon Suk-yeol administration to uphold the so-called “Three Nos” policy over the THAAD issue ― no additional deployments of the anti-missile system, no integration into a U.S.-led missile defense system and no trilateral alliance with the U.S. and Japan.
In response, South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs argues that the Moon Jae-in administration’s “three no” policy was not a commitment to China.
Moreover, China now claims that South Korea’s new government must also adhere to a “one limit” policy to limit his THAAD operations in South Korea. China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Wednesday that Beijing attaches importance to the former administration’s “three no’s and his one limit” position.
The defense minister flatly dismissed China’s allegations that the THAAD radar was being used as a tool to spy on military activities in a strategic race with the United States.
“Judging from the position of the THAAD radar, it cannot be used to defend the United States, it is only a means to defend South Korea,” he said.
“The Chinese side has already been explained.”
Defense Minister also said the government would accelerate efforts to normalize his THAAD base in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province. Since the
base was set up at a local golf course in 2017, hundreds of US and South Korean military personnel stationed there have used shipping containers and old golf clubhouses to describe their poor living conditions.
Amid growing speculation that North Korean provocations are imminent, the defense minister said the existing inter-Korean military pact cannot be kept intact unless North Korea implements it,7 The agreement, signed by the leaders of the South and the North on September 19, 2018, calls for all nuclear powers to ease tensions along the border. We call for an end to hostilities.
“September. 19 military agreements are important and will last as long as the two sides respect them,” Lee said.
However, Prime Minister Lee said that whether to terminate the agreement cannot be decided by the defense secretary himself, but may be decided after seeking the opinions of relevant government agencies, including the State Department.
Credit/Source : KOREATIMES