China's US ambassador says South Korea's anti-missile system undermines trust

By ZHAO HUANXIN in Washington | | Updated: 2017-04-27 18:13

The United States deployment of the anti-missile defense system in South Korea will undermine mutual trust among all parties, rather than ease tensions or thwart dangers on the peninsula, China's Ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, said on Wednesday.

"I still believe it will serve our common interest if a diplomatic solution, a peaceful means to the problems could be found," Cui said in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "We strongly advocate all parties concerned refrain from doing things that might escalate the situation even further."

The interview came just hours after about 20 trucks and trailers delivered parts of the anti-missile defense system, known as THAAD, including a radar and mobile launchers, to a golf course at Soseong-ri village in Seongju county, South Gyeongsang province.

Meanwhile, the standoff continues over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles.

Cui said China certainly had serious concerns about the THAAD deployment. It won't help reduce the tension or prevent the dangers on the Korean Peninsula, he noted.

"To the contrary, it will very much undermine the mutual trust and confidence between us, and pose a very serious threat to China's own security," Cui told the chief international correspondent of CNN. "We will not change our position."

He said China and the US had a shared interest on the Korean Peninsula as both want to see continued stability and real progress toward denuclearization.

Moon Jae-in, the liberal politician expected to win South Korea's election, has called for a delay in the deployment, saying the new administration should make a decision after gathering public opinion and more talks with Washington, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The report cited a spokesman for Moon saying that moving the parts to the site "ignored public opinion and due process" and demanded it be suspended.

South Korea and the US agreed on "swift punitive measures" against the DPRK in the event of more provocation, although the US signaled sanctions and diplomatic pressure were its priorities for now, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Cui said the situation on the Korean Peninsula posed a challenge to China, the US, Russia and others, who should work together to seek a diplomatic solution.

Cui said it was equally important to "effectively and strictly" implement all the United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding the Korean Peninsula, including sanctions.

China has been pursuing diplomatic efforts in the hope that all parties will join in the serious search for a real, effective and peaceful solution, Cui said.

Asked if Chinese President Xi Jinping had made any specific commitments regarding the DPRK to his US counterpart Donald Trump when the two met at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida early this month, Cui told CNN that he believed Xi had reiterated China's position to Trump and elaborated Beijing's concerns.

"I think President Trump listened very carefully to President Xi," Cui said.

The ambassador said the two presidents got on very well at their first meeting, which gave a clear guidance and direction of where the China-US relations should be going.

China's Foreign Ministry said the THAAD deployment went against efforts made by all parties to settle the issues through discussion and severely sabotaged China's security and strategic interests.

"China will firmly take necessary actions to safeguard its own interests," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a news briefing on Wednesday.

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