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(2nd LD) Russia, China voice anxiety over U.S. shield in S. Korea

All News 19:26 March 11, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with quotes, details; CHANGES headline)

MOSCOW/BEIJING, March 11 (Yonhap) -- The foreign ministers of Russia and China said Friday that they share a "common position" against the possible deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, citing the long range of the system's radar.

Speaking to a press conference in Moscow after talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also reaffirmed that they won't accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state and called for the North to return to nuclear talks.

North Korea has been slapped with a fresh round of U.N. sanctions for its fourth nuclear test and launch of a long-range rocket this year.

South Korea has launched formal talks with the U.S. to adopt the THAAD battery to better protect North Korea's growing threats of nuclear and missile programs.

"As for the anti-missile defense, there we are sharing a common position with China, on which we shall insist at international forums, at the U.N. and in respective formats," Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russia's state-run Itar-Tass news agency.

"We consider it absolutely important not to be hiding behind explanations claiming those plans were caused by the DPRK's ventures," he said. The DPRK is an acronym of North Korea's official name.

"The plans, which the U.S. has been nursing together with the Republic of Korea (South Korea), are in their scales above any possible threats, which may come from the DPRK, even if to consider Pyongyang's recent actions," Lavrov said.

The Chinese foreign minister echoed the remarks by Lavrov, saying that the THAAD battery, if deployed in South Korea, would spark an "arms race" in the region.

Wang reaffirmed China's stance that the new U.N. sanctions against North Korea should be "earnestly" implemented.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are high after the North's nuclear test and rocket launch.

Recently, North Korea has issued daily threats of nuclear strikes against South Korea and the United States at a time when Seoul and Washington have been conducting joint military drills.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered his country to conduct more nuclear tests, according to the North's state media on Friday.

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