South Korea's national security advisor and his incoming U.S. counterpart saw eye-to-eye on not accepting North Korea's nuclear weapons program and reaffirmed the deployment of the U.S.-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense unit to South Korea.
Explaining his Monday meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's pick for national security advisor Michael Flynn in Washington, the chief of Seoul's National Security Office Kim Kwan-jin said the THAAD deployment is an issue pertaining to South Korea's sovereignty emphasizing China's strong opposition will not reverse the deployment plan.
"The THAAD unit deployment is to purely defend our country.
We saw eye-to eye that THAAD will be deployed to South Korea as agreed upon with the U.S."
Kim also added Flynn is expected to explain Seoul's legitimacy to station THAAD in the country to China, closely cooperating with South Korea on the matter.
With Flynn labeling the Seoul-Washington alliance as inseparable as "sticky rice cake", the two have also reportedly expressed opposition in acknowledging North Korea as a nuclear state and agreed on the need to denuclearize the regime.
Kim's trip to the U.S. served as an opportunity to underscore the strength of the Seoul-Washington alliance even under the incoming Trump administration.
Trump's victory over the presidential election last year initially raised concerns bilateral ties could weaken as the former business tycoon expressed willingness during his campaign to withdraw U.S. troops from South Korean soil unless Seoul pays more for their presence.
Responding to the meeting held early this week, Beijing has again confirmed that deployment of the THAAD battery will inevitably damage bilateral relations… with its foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang saying Seoul's decision in agreeing to deploy Washington's missile defense system to the Korean peninsula will have a severely negative impact on China's security interest and harm the region's strategic balance.
The meeting between South Korea's national security advisor and the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency came on the same day Chinese military planes flew into Korea's Air Defense Identification Zone in an apparent protest against Seoul's decision to deploy the U.S. missile defense system.
Beijing has been strongly opposing Seoul's moves and it has raised its warnings saying it will only resume military exchanges when South Korea respects mutual security interests.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.