South Korea is accusing China of taking indirect action against the country's installation of United States' anti-missile system after the Asian giant rejected the application to add charter flights by South Korean carriers.
According to Reuters, South Korea's finance minister, Yoo Il-ho, said that China is protesting against the country's decision to employ the anti-missile system, which is argued to be solely for countering threats from North Korea. The United States supports South Korea in this argument.
"China is officially denying it, but we feel their actions are linked and that there have been indirect responses taken," said the defence minister in a news conference on 5 January, according to reports.
On the other hand, China has vehemently objected to South Korea's decision to install the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system. Beijing believes that the system's powerful radar can penetrate its territory, reported the news agency.
Though the minister did not elaborate on what he meant by "indirect action", he said that the Korean government is currently inspecting if China's refusal to deny the airlines' applications is due to the disagreement over the anti-missile system.
There is a surge in flight demand between the two countries in the month of January and February ahead of Lunar New Year travel. However, Chinese authorities were not available to comment on this issue.