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China, Russia criticize US missile system in S Korea
April 30, 2016, 6:31 pm

North Korea launched a nuclear test in January [Xinhua]

North Korea launched a nuclear test in January [Xinhua]

China has for the second time in as many months officially protested Washington’s expected deployment of an advanced missile system in the Korean peninsula.

The US and its South Korean ally have been in talks for the past three months to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, as a response to Pyongyang’s recent ballistic missile tests; experts warn that some are designed for carrying nuclear warheads.

During a press conference with his Russian counterpart in Beijing on Friday China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that both countries considered the US move far exceeding relevant actual defense needs.

He said that the deployment of such a system would escalate tensions on the peninsula and in northeast Asia.

As one of the most advanced missile defense systems in the world, THAAD can intercept and destroy ballistic missiles inside or just outside the atmosphere during their final phase of flight.

Despite claims by Washington and Seoul that the missile shield would be focused solely on North Korea, Beijing says the US deployment would pose considerable threat to neighboring countries.

“Once deployed, the system would pose a direct threat to the strategic security of China and Russia,” Wang said at the joint press conference on Friday.

Tensions on the peninsula escalated after the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2270, which slaps new sanctions on Pyongyang after it carried out two nuclear tests in January and February.

Resolution 2270 says:

The Council decided that all States should inspect cargo within or transiting through their territory — including airports, sea ports and free trade zones — that was destined for or originating from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It also decided that Member States should prohibit that country’s nationals and those in their own territories from leasing or chartering their flagged vessels and aircraft to it, or providing it with crew services.

North Korea says it is boosting its defensive capabilities in the face of threats from its southern neighbor and the US.

It calls ongoing military exercises between South Korea and the US provocative and a prelude to war.

South Korea and the US launched their largest yet military exercises including amphibious landing drills earlier this month.

Wang reiterated China’s insistence that there should be no nuclear weapons on the peninsula, no matter whether they were possessed by the north or the south side, and no matter whether they were developed locally or introduced from the outside.

China, a neighboring country of the Korean Peninsula and a major stakeholder in regional stability, also maintains that the Korean Peninsula denuclearization should be achieved via dialogue, not war, and that China’s national security interests should be guaranteed, he added.

Russia has also expressed concern about the potential deployment of THAAD, saying it could trigger an arms race in Northeast Asia.

Last week, Pyongyang announced it had successfully launched a short-range ballistic missile from a submarine.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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