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S. Korea, China hold high-level military talks amid THAAD row

2017/09/20 16:27

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SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) -- Senior South Korean and Chinese military officials held bilateral talks here on Wednesday amid drawn-out diplomatic standoffs between the neighboring countries, South Korea's Army said.

The half-an-hour meeting between Gen. Kim Yong-woo, the South Korean Army chief of staff, and Lt. Gen. You Haitao, deputy commander of the Chinese Army, took place on the sidelines of the 10th Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC) underway in Seoul.

You is leading China's delegation to the biennial conference. He is the first high-level Chinese defense official to visit South Korea since Seoul's agreement with the U.S. Forces Korea last year to deploy the THAAD missile defense system on its soil.

The allies have stressed that it's aimed at countering North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. But China does not want a THAAD battery, which includes a state-of-the-art X-band radar, on its doorstep.

The South's Army officials confirmed that the Kim-You meeting occurred earlier in the day but stopped short of providing details. They also didn't release a relevant photo.

This file photo shows Lt. Gen. You Haitao (L), the top Chinese delegate to the 10th Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC) in Seoul. (Yonhap) This file photo shows Lt. Gen. You Haitao (L), the top Chinese delegate to the 10th Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC) in Seoul. (Yonhap)

"The Chinese side requested a complete closed-door meeting," an Army official said. "The two sides attached a meaning to the meeting itself, rather than focusing on sensitive issues."

   On Tuesday, Kim had a trilateral gathering with his American and Japanese counterparts Gen. Mark A. Milley and Gen. Koji Yamazaki, both of whom are attending the PACC.

Kim and Milley co-hosted the session with the theme of "Unity of Effort: Building Civil-Military Partnerships in Land Force Response to Non-Traditional Security Threats."

   The forum has brought together army chiefs of staff and senior commanders from 29 Indo-Asia-Pacific countries.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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