MPs defy pres­i­dent with China visit

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A GROUP of South Korean op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers de­fied Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye and left for China yes­ter­day to dis­cuss the de­ploy­ment of an Amer­i­can anti-mis­sile sys­tem that has opened a dam­ag­ing rift be­tween Seoul and Beijing.

Ms Park had urged the law­mak­ers to scrap their trip, ar­gu­ing that it would boost China’s op­po­si­tion to the Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fence (THAAD) sys­tem and deepen di­vi­sions in South Korea over the is­sue.

Seoul’s de­ci­sion to host a THAAD bat­tery, to counter a grow­ing threat from North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams, has been con­demned by China as a threat to its own se­cu­rity in­ter­ests and to re­gional sta­bil­ity.

The on­go­ing row is threat­en­ing to undo the sub­stan­tial ef­fort Ms Park has put into strength­en­ing ties with China, which is not only South Korea’s largest trade part­ner but also the key player in curb­ing North Korea’s nu­clear am­bi­tions.

Kim Young-ho, one of the six law­mak­ers from the main op­po­si­tion Min­joo Party trav­el­ling to Beijing, said their sole mo­ti­va­tion was to calm the sit­u­a­tion.

“We are vis­it­ing with the hope of of­fer­ing at least a lit­tle warmth to the icy Seoul-Beijing ties,” Mr Kim was quoted as say­ing by the Yon­hap news agency be­fore leav­ing Seoul.

But Ms Park said the visit would be counter-pro­duc­tive and sug­gested the MPs were be­ing ir­re­spon­si­bly dis­loyal.

THAAD has been the sub­ject of do­mes­tic protests in South Korea. –

Photo: AFP

Kim Young-Ho, a law­maker from South Korea’s main op­po­si­tion Min­joo Party, left for China yes­ter­day.

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