[THE INVESTOR] A recent series of retaliatory economic actions taken by China against South Korea may be in violation of international trade law as well as their bilateral trade pact, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said March 5, alluding to Seoul’s possible move to bring the cases to an international court.
“(They could) likely be in breach of the rules of the World Trade Organization and the bilateral free trade agreement between South Korea and China,” the top diplomat said in his appearance in a news program by state-run broadcaster KBS. He said he is closely watching China‘s recent measures.
Last week, China ordered the country’s travel agencies to suspend their tour programs to South Korea as the latest in a series of reprisals over Seoul‘s moves to deploy the high-tech U.S. missile defense system Terminal High Altitude Area Defense on its soil.
“In general, it seems there have been such (retaliatory) measures, but officially the Chinese government is denying (its role behind them),” the minister said. “It is not desirable to place a man-made obstacle to this kind of people exchange,” he noted in reference to the recent travel ban by Beijing.
Yun also said South Korea has told China to address the situation.
The latest remarks could portend South Korea’s possible action to take the cases to an international settlement process. The foreign minister has previously said it is considering taking China to the WTO.
Despite China‘s growing objections to the deployment of the THAAD system, South Korea is determined to complete the deployment as soon as possible, the minister stressed.
“Installing THAAD at the earliest possible time will greatly help overcome a security crisis and guard against threats ...(Seoul and Washington) share the notion that they will strive to complete it as soon as possible,” according to the minister.