• South Korea Announces Site of THAAD Deployment

South Korea Announces Site of THAAD Deployment (Photo : Getty Images News)

China has overtaken Japan as the second most disliked country among South Koreans, according to an Asan Institute for Political Studies survey released on Monday.

The most disliked country remains to be North Korea.

With 10 points being the most friendly, China's favorability went down to 3.21 from 5 points in 2016. Meanwhile, the score for Japan remains unchanged at 3.33.

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The shift in public opinion was due to a row over a U.S. army anti-ballistics missile system, called the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), on South Korea's border. The THAAD can shoot down short, medium and long-range missiles fired by North Korea. However, China claims that THAAD poses a danger to Beijing's security.

China urged a reduction in the number of troops in both U.S. and South Korea and to scale down the practice of war games as part of defense preparations against a North Korean attack.

North Korea has threatened "merciless" attacks unless the two countries desist from the practice of war games, which is held close to North Korea's borders.

China also criticized South Korea for allowing the U.S. to set up a missile system. It also warned that allowing the U.S. to host the missile deployment system will threaten China-South Korea bilateral relations.

In February, the Chinese government started a campaign to boycott South Korean goods, specifically Lotte Holdings, and tourism.

Japan colonized parts of South Korea and committed atrocities during World War II, leading the latter to despise the island nation. South Korea claimed that Japan imported their women against their will to provide entertainment for Japanese soldiers.

Two years ago, the comfort girls issue was resolved, with Japan providing compensation and a formal apology.

However, tensions were renewed in Dec. 2016 when a comfort girl statue was brought down from outside the Japanese embassy in South Korea.