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Top Russian envoy says S. Korea-Russia ties should not be damaged over THAAD deployment

SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) — The top Russian envoy in South Korea called Monday for bilateral cooperation to ensure that relations between the two countries should not be damaged over the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea.

Russian Ambassador to Korea Alexander Timonin said his country is fundamentally against the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, but said the issue should be resolved diplomatically in any case.

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Last month, Seoul and Washington announced that they have officially decided to deploy a THAAD battery in South Korea to counter North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats.

Russia and China have repeatedly expressed opposition against the U.S. anti-missile system out of concerns that the deployment could hurt their security interests.

Still, Timonin said he expects South Korea-Russia relations to go up in coming years, noting that Moscow regards Seoul as a major partner in the Asia-Pacific region.

He made the comments in a meeting with Park Jie-won, the interim leader of the minor opposition People’s Party, at the party’s headquarters in Seoul.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye is preparing to hold summit talks with her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week in Vladivostok.

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The two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, including the planned deployment of the advanced U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea.

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