MOSCOW (Sputnik) — US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China on Friday to refrain from creating economic policies which could hinder South Korea’s deployment of a US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system.
"While we acknowledge China's opposition, its economic retaliation against South Korea is inappropriate and troubling. We ask China to refrain from such actions," Tillerson said during a press conference following his talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.
Tillerson continued by calling on Chinese authorities to react to "the escalating threat from North Korea" which necessitates the need for a THAAD location on the peninsula.
"The United States is committed to supporting the defense of our allies and we will continue to develop a comprehensive set of capabilities to counter the growing North Korean ballistic missile threat. That's why the United States and the Republic of Korea decided to take the defensive measure of deploying THAAD missile defense system," Tillerson explained.
On March 8, components for the THAAD system began to arrive in South Korea as Seoul wanted the system to be deployed rapidly in response to the threat from North Korea’s ballistic missile tests.
The move prompted strong criticism from Beijing, which enacted economic policies in protest. China's retaliation resulted in the temporary suspension of tour packages sales to South Koreans. Similarly, China has reportedly boycotted some South Korean products, including those of Lotte Group, the conglomerate which sold one of its golf courses to the South Korean government for the defense system.