South Korean President Moon Jae-in is likely to have talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Germany this week, aimed at helping Beijing understand why Seoul allowed an advanced US missile defense system called THAAD to be installed on its soil, the country's top diplomat said Monday.
"Basically, the THAAD issue should be addressed with the top priority placed on our national interest and security needs," Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said during an interview with Yonhap News TV, the broadcast unit of Yonhap News Agency.
"We know well that there was not enough diplomatic consensus with China in the decision-making process for THAAD so it is necessary to widen communication and seek frank dialogue to deepen the depth of understanding," she added. "Maybe there will be talks in that way if they meet at the G20 summit this week."
However, Kang said that details on Moon's meeting Xi on the sidelines of the G20 gathering have yet to be confirmed. The G20 summit is scheduled to be held Friday and Saturday.
South Korea and the US unveiled the joint plan in July last year to install a THAAD battery in the South in order to better defend against the growing missile threat from North Korea. China is demanding the plan be withdrawn, saying it could undermine its military capabilities.
Moon held his first face-to-face summit with US President Donald Trump last week, also marking his first summit with a foreign leader since taking office in May. The two reaffirmed their commitment to fully exert pressure on North Korea, while at the same opening the door to dialogue under the right circumstances.
They, however, differed on trade, with Trump complaining about an increase in the US deficit with South Korea since the two allies enforced the free trade agreement, suggesting the possibility of renegotiating the deal.
Kang, who accompanied the president on his trip to Washington, said that the US side did not specifically mention the need for renegotiations but South Korean officials detected such an intention during the talks.
"We have not agreed to have renegotiations (on the FTA), nor have we started them," Kang said. "Still, relevant ministries and agencies are now in consultation to draw up countermeasures against all possibilities."
Meanwhile, assessing the overall outcome of the summit, Kang said South Korea has achieved all its intended objectives which were to build mutual trust and friendship between the leaders, secure Washington's support for the new government, and deepen the understanding of President Moon's vision and policy in its ally. (Yonhap)