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U.S. congressman: 'China is sanctioning the wrong Korea'

2017/03/30 05:20

By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, March 29 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) said Wednesday China is "sanctioning the wrong Korea" as he denounced a series of punitive measures Beijing has taken in retaliation against South Korea for hosting the U.S. THAAD missile defense system.

"China's decision to punish South Korea is not only regrettable, it's inappropriate. Frankly, China is sanctioning the wrong Korea, and Beijing needs to do more to crack down on North Korea's illicit weapons programs," Yoho said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting.

Last year, South Korea decided to host a THAAD battery to boost defense against North Korea.

China has taken a number of economic retaliatory measures, including restrictions on South Korean imports and a ban on Chinese tourists from visiting the neighboring nation, as Seoul refused to give in Chinese pressure to scrap the decision.

"We need to be clear, the U.S.-South Korea alliance decision to deploy the defensive THAAD system is to counter the threat from the Kim regime, a threat that China is not adequately addressing," Yoho said.

Last week, Yoho introduced a separate resolution calling for an end to China's retaliatory measures against the South and urging Beijing to instead focus on exercising considerable influence to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Yoho expressed serious concerns about the North's threats.

"Pyongyang has dramatically accelerated its belligerent behavior, conducting two nuclear tests and two dozen missile launches last year," the congressman said.

Since 2015, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un tested more missiles than his late father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung combined, while "making continued progress towards an ICBM capable of targeting nearly the entire continental United States," Yoho said.

"Speculation is widespread that another nuclear test could be imminent," he said.

He also said that the North deserves to be relisted as a state sponsor of terrorism, especially "in light of the brazen murder" of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half brother of the North's leader in a Malaysian airport using the chemical weapons agent VX nerve gas.

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)

jschang@yna.co.kr

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