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China voices strong opposition to THAAD, vows 'necessary' action

All News 18:05 September 30, 2016

BEIJING, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- China voiced its strong objection on Friday to South Korea's push to place an advanced U.S. missile defense system on its soil, even vowing to take "necessary" action apparently in response to the Seoul government's decision on the deployment site.

"China has made clear its stance on several occasions with regard to THAAD," China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a regular press briefing. "Its placement on the Korean Peninsula will not resolve security issues of relevant countries, nor will it help realize denuclearization and maintain peace and stability on the peninsula."

"(Its deployment) will hurt strategic and security interests of countries and undermine the strategic balance in the region... China firmly opposes it and we will take necessary measures to maintain the strategic balance," he added.

In July, South Korea announced it would place the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system by end-2017 in the country to counter growing threats from North Korea.

China has strongly opposed the plan, saying that it could hurt the country’s security interests but Seoul and Washington have assured that the decision is a "self defense" measure whose only target is missiles flying from the North.

China's renewed opposition to THAAD came as South Korea's defense ministry earlier said that it has selected a golf course in the southeastern part of the country for its deployment after more than two months of controversy over where it should be located.

At first, an anti-aircraft missile base in Seongju, 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul, was selected but local residents vehemently protested the decision, raising worries that its powerful radar could cause health problems and demanding that the government change the site.

A drawn-out diplomatic row over THAAD has been cited as a drag on cooperation and unity in dealing with the evolving nuclear and missile threats from the North.

Currently, the U.N. Security Council is working to draw up a new, stronger resolution to punish Pyongyang for conducting its fifth nuclear test earlier this month in defiance of repeated global warnings.

China, a close ally to the North, is regarded as a major player that could determine the success of the additional punitive action given its close ties to Pyongyang.

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