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Russia argues THAAD can be used offensively

All Headlines 16:08 June 04, 2017

By Lee Chi-dong

SINGAPORE, June 4 (Yonhap) -- A top Russian defense official on Sunday accused South Korea and the U.S. of escalating tensions in Northeast Asia by deploying the powerful Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on the Korean Peninsula.

Deputy Defense Minster Lt. Gen. Alexander Fomin claimed the missile system can be used for launching "long-distance attack missiles," and should not be viewed exclusively as a defensive system.

"That's why we are alarmed. It's a direct threat to Russia," he said, speaking at a plenary session of the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

He pointed out the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea has already begun.

"We are convinced that (the) ongoing (move) in the region under the auspices of the United States to deploy elements of a global missile defense (system) will not only not solve the existing problems on the Korean Peninsula, but, on the contrary, will only exacerbate them," he said in English.

He added THAAD in Korea would also trigger a regional arms race and provoke the North to attack its enemies.

The official took note of Japan's reported plan to beef up its own missile defense system as well, saying such measures will get closer to the Russian border areas and the Kuril Islands where there is a territorial dispute between Moscow and Tokyo.

"No doubt we will analyze the situation and consider possible measures of response," he said.

The general stressed that Moscow supports a "peaceful, diplomatic and economic" approach to resolve the problem related to "Pyongyang's act."

The North has carried out nine ballistic missile tests this year alone and detonated five nuclear tests since 2006. The last detonation was carried out in September 2016 in the face of strong warnings by the international community.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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