Pop stars, diplomacy victims of cooling China-Korea ties

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has criticised a group of opposition lawmakers who left for China yesterday to discuss the deployment of an American anti-missile system that has opened a damaging rift between Seoul and Beijing.

The 15-member council held a closed-door meeting on the same day, but has been unable to agree on a USA -drafted statement to condemn the launch, which was nearly identical to two previous statements issued by the council on North Korea (DPRK).

The launches were condemned, especially by Japan, as the missile fell into waters in Japan's exclusive economic zone, which has not happened before.

According to Reuters, China told the council: "We believe that the response of the council is based on violation of Security Council resolutions, not the place where the missile impacted".

As the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) discussed issuing the statement critical of North Korea's defiant launch of two ballistic missiles on August 3, China insisted that the document should also state Beijing's opposition to the USA -led plan to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea, the official at Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on the condition of anonymity.

In a report, Korea Times stated that the meeting was the first time that the South Korean government expressed its position on THAAD to China through an official diplomatic method.

The United States, which like Beijing enjoys the power of veto on the Security Council, is understood to have refused China's demand.

China also objected to wording in the draft of the condemnation statement that referred to the missile falling inside Japan's EEZ. The meeting was scheduled after Beijing criticized the decision of South Korea to deploy USA anti-missile system through its state-run media last week. Their opposition is mainly due to the fear that the battery's AN/TPY-2 radar could spy on the military activities and missile capabilities of China.

"To propose that this council should criticise purely defensive steps that states have taken to protect their people from the DPRK's clear and repeated ballistic missile threats. would be manifestly inappropriate and would send entirely the wrong message to the DPRK", the USA mission to the United Nations told council diplomats.

The UNSC had consistently responded to North Korea's provocative missile test launches with a statement of condemnation before such a united front showed signs of fractures last month in the face of the growing row over THAAD.

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