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People's Daily Online

Ambiguous THAAD photos cause unease in China

People's Daily Online

By Li Yan (People's Daily Online) 17:14, January 09, 2017

Chinese netizens have expressed discomfort with photos depicting Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors targeting the Chinese national flag. Eight such photos have appeared in Yonhap News Agency reports within half a year.

The first picture was published on Aug. 10 to accompany an article titled "U.S. missile defense chief to visit Seoul for talks over THAAD." The report stated that James Syring, who is in charge of the Missile Defense Agency's worldwide mission, would come to South Korea to discuss follow-up measures for the planned deployment of THAAD.

Those pictures are just backgrounds, and were not intended to target China, said Chen Bingtai, director of the Beijing branch of the Yonhap News Agency. Chen promised to inform the South Korean head office of the incident to make sure they are more cautious when selecting photos in the future.

Another employee of Yonhap News Agency chalked the whole situation up to a misunderstanding when asked about the purpose of the photos. Meanwhile, a South Korean diplomat explained on Jan. 8 that he had no idea about the existence of the pictures, but noted that "THADD could hardly threaten China because it has a range of only 200 kilometers."

Those explanations haven't persuaded Chinese netizens, however. Some net users commented under the article that they would never travel to South Korea, while others said South Korea is suicidal and China should do something to stop the craziness.

The Yonhap News Agency has not removed the photo from its website as of press time.

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