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China worried over US-SKorea plans to deploy THAAD system

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Beijing: China today asked both the US and South Korea not to “impair” its security interests after they decided to launch talks on the deployment of an advanced American missile defense system on South Korean soil, hours after North Korea’s provocative long-range missile launch.

“China holds a consistent and clear stance on the anti- missile issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

Hua said China is “deeply concerned” over the decision by the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to launch an official negotiation on the deployment of an advanced US missile defense system, called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), on the Korean Peninsula.

“When pursuing its own security, one country should not impair other’s security interests,” Hua was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.

THAAD system is a sophisticated US-developed one aimed at defending major population centres and key infrastructures from enemy short and medium-range missile attack.

She said moves to advance the deployment will escalate tensions on the peninsula, which will do harm to regional peace and stability, and set back efforts to address the current situation.

“We demand the countries concerned be prudent when handling the issue,” Hua added.

Earlier, Hua had “expressed regret” over North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket, after Pyongyang said it successfully put a satellite into orbit.

China is North Korea’s sole major ally and main trading partner, but relations between the two neighbours have been strained in recent years by Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.

“With regards to the DPRK’s insistence on implementing a launch of missile technology in the face of international opposition, China expresses regret,” Hua said.

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