On March 16, Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao met his Korean counterpart and told the press that they had “candid and free discussions” over THAAD. Liu said China hoped that South Korea and the United States would make an “appropriate” decision on the issue, adding “it would be appreciated if Seoul takes account of China’s concerns and worries.” Concurrently in Korea, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel told reporters, “I find it curious that a third country would presume to make strong representations about a security system that has not been put in place, and that is still a matter of theory,” adding, “I think that it is for Korea to decide what measures it will take in its own alliance defense and when.” Korea’s Defense Ministry spokesman said “a neighboring country can have its own position about the USFK’s deployment of THAAD, but it should not try to exert influence on our security policies.” Given these recent developments on the THAAD issue, it seems that Korean government’s “strategic ambiguity” cannot be sustained.


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About Experts

Woo Jung-Yeop
Woo Jung-Yeop

Research Fellow

Dr. Woo Jung-Yeop is a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Previously, Dr. Woo was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California and also an Associate Analyst for Gallup Korea and the Korea Research Company. Dr. Woo’s research focuses on foreign military intervention in civil wars and the relationship between foreign policy-making and public opinion. Dr. Woo received a B.A. from Seoul National University, M.P.P. from Georgetown University, and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.