21:04 GMT14 August 2020
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    What's being called "China's retaliation" against the deployment of elements of the US THAAD missile defense system in South Korea is largely exaggerated and has been instigated by the South Korean media, Kim Haeseon, a South Korean expert on China, told Sputnik.

    In an interview with Sputnik Korea, Kim Haeseon, a South Korean expert on China specifically drew attention to China's so-called ‘retaliation’ against the deployment of elements of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea.

    According to him, Beijing’s response has been wildly exaggerated due to South Korean media outlets, which misinterpret the Chinese media reports about the Chinese politicians' security concerns over THAAD.

    Earlier this month, Chinese media quoted retired Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Gen. Wang Hongguang as saying that China is preparing countermeasures against the THAAD system in South Korea, which involve anti-missile equipment, intended to neutralize signals from THAAD radars.

    A barbed-wire fence is set up around a golf course owned by Lotte, where the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system will be deployed, in Seongju, South Korea, March 1, 2017
    © REUTERS / Kim Joon-beom/Yonhap
    A barbed-wire fence is set up around a golf course owned by Lotte, where the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system will be deployed, in Seongju, South Korea, March 1, 2017

    Commenting on this, Kim Haeseon said that "the South Korean media outlets exaggerate the problem by claiming that the conflict over THAAD has allegedly damaged Seoul's economic ties with China."

    He said that there are too many experts on the United States in South Korea, which is why a pro-American point of view prevails in his country.

    Kim also pointed to the lack of specific expertise on China in South Korea, where he said "nationalistic anti-Chinese sentiments and the habit of treating China from a pro-American standpoint have long been in place."

    "In South Korea, the view is widespread that the conflict over THAAD allegedly led to the deterioration of Seoul's economic ties with China. However, the problem doesn’t only concern THAAD. There are very few experts on China in South Korea, which prevents the South Korean government from developing ties with China," he said.

    Kim added that "Seoul should assess the Chinese government's priorities and develop a strategy to bolster cooperation with China."

    In this context, he pointed to the fact that "the Chinese government stays in power much longer than that of South Korea or the United States."

    Earlier, The South China Morning Post cited PLA air force aviation expert Fu Qianshao as saying that Beijing would send planes near THAAD to obstruct the system's long-range radar signals.

    In early March, the United States announced the deployment of THAAD anti-ballistic missile elements in South Korea.

    After reports of the start of the deployment process, China's Foreign Ministry stressed that it is strongly against the process and will take the necessary measures to protect its security interests.

    Seoul and Washington first agreed to deploy THAAD in July 2016 amid South Korea's growing unease about the nuclear program of North Korea, which launched its latest four ballistic missiles on March 6.

    The system is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles during the terminal incoming stage.

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