Chinese, SKorean defence chiefs meet: Yonhap

AFP , Tuesday 24 Oct 2017

Song Young-Moo, Chang Wanquan
South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-Moo (R) and his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan (L) (Photo: Ahramonline)

The defence chiefs of China and South Korea held their first talks in nearly two years on Tuesday, meeting at a security forum in the Philippines, Yonhap news agency reported.

The talks come at a time of bilateral tensions, with China opposed to South Korea's deployment of a US anti-missile system, but the two nations are also looking to help defuse the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Neither side immediately released details about the reported meeting between South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-Moo and his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan, on the sidelines of the forum hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

But Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, said it lasted for about half an hour, and raised the prospect of the two nations looking to mend relations following Seoul's deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system.

Seoul insists it needs THAAD to guard against North Korea's missile threats, but China sees it as a threat to its own security.

South Korea announced last month it would deploy more of the THAAD systems after the North's sixth nuclear test and a series of missile launches that sparked global alarm.

Two launchers are already operational and since late last year China -- the South's top trading partner -- has taken a series of measures against South Korean businesses, seen by Seoul as unofficial economic retaliation.

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