WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) — South Korea’s national security advisor met with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump‘s pick for national security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the same day several Chinese military planes flew into Korea’s air defense identification zone in possible protest of THAAD.
Kim, who met with reporters on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., after holding talks with Flynn, said he and the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency agreed on close cooperation on the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system, and to never tolerate North Korea‘s nuclear weapons, Yonhap reported.
“[We agreed] North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats are an urgent security issue that threatens peace and stability,” Kim said. “We can never tolerate North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and under the premise it is vital to change the North’s strategy through pressure, so that it takes the path of denuclearization.”
Flynn, who recently praised U.S. alliances abroad, and commended allies for “sacrifices and deep commitments” they have “made on behalf of our security and our prosperity,” characterized Washington’s alliance with Seoul as strong as “sticky rice cake,” Kim said.
Flynn and Kim also agreed on the need to deploy THAAD without delay, according to Yonhap.
The joint decision to deploy the missile defense system on the peninsula, however, has continued to generate friction between Seoul and Beijing.
Tensions increased on Monday, after China dispatched 10 military planes into Korea’s claimed air defense identification zone between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., The Korea Herald reported Tuesday.
The planes also encroached into Japan’s air defense zone near the Tsushima Strait.
South Korea deployed 10 fighter jets, including F-15s and KF-16s, according to the report.
A South Korean defense official said China told Seoul the planes were dispatched for training purposes but added, “We believe they have a different purpose at different times. It needs further analysis to find out what they were getting at.”
China has taken retaliatory steps to pressure South Korea after it agreed to deploy THAAD on the peninsula.