SEOUL, Aug. 24 (UPI) — The foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan met in Tokyo on Wednesday to strongly condemn North Korea‘s launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine as an “unacceptable provocation.”
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said it is important the three countries continue to adhere to a unified stance against North Korea provocations, Yonhap reported.
“China and Japan, [permanent and non-permanent] members of the United Nations Security Council, hold in high regard cooperation with and implementation of U.N. Security Council sanctions Resolution 2270,” Yun said Wednesday.
Concern has been rising in Seoul that China has been taking retaliatory measures against South Korean business interests in response to a joint decision to deploy THAAD on the peninsula.
But on Wednesday a South Korean official in Tokyo told Yonhap that measures like the cancellation of television programs featuring South Korean entertainers was not likely a Beijing initiative.
“It’s still difficult to assess whether the cancellations or delays are being implemented within the framework of [Chinese] government sanctions” against the South, the unidentified official said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also told reporters Beijing condemns North Korea’s provocations, according to South Korean newspaper Maeil Business.
“China is opposed to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development, and is opposed to any actions that heighten instability on the peninsula,” Wang said.
In a separate statement, Wang told Yun that Beijing requests the withdrawal of deployment plans for THAAD, according to Yonhap.
Wang reportedly said that this is the “last chance” to mitigate the North Korea nuclear threat, suggesting THAAD is adding to tensions in the region.
The United States and South Korea have said the anti-missile defense system is for the purposes of defending against incoming North Korea projectiles and not for surveillance.
China and Russia are wary of the THAAD radar’s monitoring capabilities.
North Korea has test-fired 19 missiles in 2016. The latest missile fell into Japan’s air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, Yonhap reported.