17:00 GMT02 December 2020
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    On Thursday, the United States Department of State expressed concerns over China’s retaliatory measures against South Korean businesses over the deployment of THAAD missile defenses.

    Yonhap news agency reported that Washington described those measures as "unreasonable and inappropriate."

    "We are concerned and closely monitoring reports that China has taken actions against South Korean private sector entities for the US-ROK [Republic of Korea] decision to deploy THAAD in the ROK," an unnamed representative of the State Department told Yonhap.

    Concurrently, the source reaffirmed Washington’s "ironclad commitment" to the defense of its allies.

    According to the report, this was the first time Washington has publicly condemned China’s retaliatory measures over the THAAD deployment.

    Moreover, South Korean media is trying to capitalize on the tense situation. For example, a correspondent of Sputnik China reported that China did not ban tourist trips to South Korea, while South Korean media has reported that Beijing imposed tourist restrictions against Seoul.

    A representative of a major Chinese travel agency told Sputnik that it does not recommend visiting South Korea over the THAAD issue. Meanwhile, representatives of other tourists companies have said that both individual and group tours are available for purchase.

    Tensions are now on the rise between Beijing and Seoul over China’s measures against South Korean companies, according to Konstantin Asmolov, an expert at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    In an interview with Sputnik China, Asmolov shared thoughts on the possible developments of the situation: "An open confrontation is unlikely. It is also unclear whether official sanctions will be imposed. On the other hand, there is a hardline media campaign in China against South Korean-produced goods. So, the main target is economy."

    According to the expert, China’s hardline stance towards South Korea does not favor North Korea.

    "Beijing does not support the South against the North and vice versa. China wants the two Koreas to take into account its national interests," Asmolov added.

    He also emphasized that the planned missile defenses will not cover any South Korean facilities. They are expected to protect only those facilities in which the US military is interested and thus South Korean authorities do not know what objects the radars will be targeted at.

    Konstantin Sivkov, a Russian military analyst and president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, told Sputnik China that in theory the Chinese military is capable of jamming American radars in South Korea.

    "China is a developed country. It can create instruments to blind THAAD’s control system. They can do that. The only problem is that such jamming devices needs to be aircraft-based. But I think that Beijing could do that," Sivkov said.

    Wang Junsheng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said that despite the fact that an open military confrontation between China and South Korea is currently unlikely Beijing-Seoul ties have hit the historic bottom.

    "As far as the THAAD issue remains unresolved there will be a downward trend in bilateral ties. The deployment creates risks for regional strategic security, including for China. China has repeatedly protested the move but South Korea remains committed to its policy, ignoring national security interests. This problem is more serious any economic differences. It directly relates to China’s strategic security and strategic security of the entire North-East Asian region," the expert pointed out.


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