Park im­peach­ment could fur­ther cloud ties be­tween China, ROK

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­

The par­lia­ment’s vote on Fri­day to im­peach Repub­lic of Korea Pres­i­dent Park Ge­un­hye may bring more un­cer­tainty to the Korean Penin­sula and the al­ready strained China-ROK ties, an­a­lysts said.

Park, the coun­try’s first fe­male pres­i­dent, was stripped of her power amid the coun­try’s worst po­lit­i­cal scan­dal in a gen­er­a­tion. Prime Min­is­ter Hwang Kyo-ahn will as­sume lead­er­ship un­til the coun­try’s Con­sti­tu­tional Court rules on whether Park must per­ma­nently step down. The court has six months to de­cide.

Chung Sye-kyun, the ROK Na­tional Assem­bly speaker, said the bill on Park’s im­peach­ment was passed by a vote of 236 in fa­vor and 56 op­posed, with 9 in­valid votes and ab­sten­tions.

China’s For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang told a reg­u­lar news con­fer­ence on Fri­day that Bei­jing up­holds the prin­ci­ple of not in­ter­fer­ing in other coun­tries’ do­mes­tic af­fairs and hopes that the ROK can re­store sta­bil­ity as soon as pos­si­ble.

Lu spoke highly of Park’s ef­forts in push­ing for­ward China-ROK re­la­tions after tak- ing of­fice in 2013. How­ever, he stressed that it was dur­ing her

time in of­fice that the ROK de­cided to de­ploy the Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fense anti-mis­sile sys­tem, which China firmly op­poses since it could harm Bei­jing’s se­cu­rity in­ter­ests.

Liu Jiangy­ong, a pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at Ts­inghua Univer­sity, told China Daily that the chaotic po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in the ROK could have ad­verse con­se­quences for China-ROK ties as well as for the Korean Penin­sula.

The China-ROK re­la­tion­ship is un­der­go­ing fluc­tu­a­tions caused by the de­ploy­ment of THAAD, Liu said, adding that the sit­u­a­tion might be wors­ened.

Liu said that Ja­pan had taken ad­van­tage of the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in the ROK to swoop in to sign a mil­i­tary agree­ment that could harm China’s se­cu­rity in­ter­ests and cause more un­cer­tain­ties on the penin­sula.

Last month, the ROK and Ja­pan signed the Gen­eral Se­cu­rity of Mil­i­tary In­for­ma­tion Agree­ment in Seoul after four years of ne­go­ti­a­tions. Ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment, the two coun­tries will share mil­i­tary in­for­ma­tion.

Liu also said the im­peach­ment will de­lay a meet­ing of the lead­ers of China, Ja­pan and the ROK.

They were ex­pected to meet by the end of the year.

Zhang Lian­gui, an ex­pert on Korean stud­ies at the Party School of the Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, said that the de­ploy­ment of the THAAD anti-mis­sile sys­tem will con­tinue dur­ing the im­peach­ment of Park be­cause “no­body will stand up to say no” dur­ing the po­lit­i­cal chaos.

ROK Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye at­tends an emer­gency cab­i­net meet­ing on Fri­day.

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