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South Korea To Consider Filing WTO Complaint Over China's Retaliation

By March 7, 2017 at 7:49 am
Both Seoul and Washington have said the missile defense system’s aim is only to curb North Korean provocations. (Photo : Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The South Korean government said on Tuesday that they may take China's economic retaliation against the country to the World Trade Organization (WTO) amid growing tensions between the two neighboring countries over Seoul's planned deployment of a U.S. missile defense system.

It is widely believed in South Korea that China is retaliating against some of its companies, canceling performances by their artists and directing local travel agencies to stop selling tour packages to Chinese who want to visit South Korea after the government's decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

Lee Hyun-Jae, chairman of the Liberty Korea Party's policy committee, told reporters after meeting senior government officials that the government and the ruling party are actively considering whether China's retaliatory actions violate the South Korea-China free trade deal and file a complaint with the WTO, as they also try to increase efforts to reduce the damage on South Korean industries.

In a report by the Yonhap News Agency, China rejected applications to add charter flights by some South Korean carriers in March, the latest of China's retaliation against South Korean companies. The report also said that applications by South Korean carriers, including Jeju Air, for charter flights between the two countries were rejected for the earlier two months, giving no reason for the decision.

Lee said on Tuesday that the South Korean government had agreed to give fresh "special loans" worth 50 billion won to tourism companies affected by the sudden change in Chinese policy, according to a report by Reuters.

He also urged China to make more efforts to restrict North Korea's nuclear program. He adds that there is no need for THAAD if Pyongyang stops the development of its nuclear weapons.

The Chinese object to the deployment of THAAD in the Korean peninsula, saying their country is the target of the system's wide-reaching radar. Both Seoul and Washington have said the missile system's aim is only to curb North Korean provocations. 

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