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THAAD Decision Derails Seoul-Beijing Military Talks

© Flickr / U.S. Missile Defense AgencyTwo Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test
Two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test - Sputnik International
Seoul and Beijing have suspended their high-level defense talks as a result of South Korea's decision to deploy a controversial American anti-missile system in the country.

Sources reported November 6 that the planned visit of South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo to China for negotiations with Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan had stalled, and that the countries' annual vice-ministerial level military strategy talks were now not likely to take place. China and South Korea have held these defense talks every year since 2011. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches landing and anti-landing exercises being carried out by the Korean People's Army (KPA) at an unknown location, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on March 20, 2016 - Sputnik International
US Military Brigade Deployed in South Korea With Eyes on Pyongyang

South Korea decided in July to station the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on its territory, and recent reports say it will be deployed within the next eight to 10 months. The system is one of many new aggressive defense measures Seoul is taking as North Korea, amid international condemnation, continues to test nuclear devices and ballistic missiles.

China has consistently opposed the THAAD deployment, saying it undermines China's national interests and destabilizes the region's balance of power. THAAD is capable of detecting and intercepting Chinese missiles.

Russia also opposes the deployment of the missile system.

"China has not extended an invitation to Han, and our government has not asked," a defense ministry source told Qatar News Agency. Chinese officials have consistently warned that THAAD would cool the heretofore expanding relations between the two nations.

People watch a TV news channel airing an image of North Korea's ballistic missile launch published in North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul. (File) - Sputnik International
US, Japan Push to Fortify Alliances Amid Threat Posed by North Korea

"We are reviewing the situation to decide on whether to push for [Han's] visit and ministerial talks," a military source said, the Korea Daily reports. 

The annual vice-ministerial meeting provided the neighbors the opportunity to discuss military personnel exchanges, crisis communication plans and the management of each country's air defense identification zones. South Korea has suggested holding the talks in Seoul this year; China has yet to respond. 

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