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Beijing: US THAAD missile system may be meant for China

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (AFP photo)

Beijing has called on Washington not to deploy its sophisticated THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile system to the Korean Peninsula, saying it could also be used to target China.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Reuters in an interview in Munich on Friday that his country has urged the United States to refrain from the deployment to South Korea.

"The facts are clear. The deployment of the THAAD system by the United States ... goes far beyond the defense need of the Korean Peninsula and the coverage would mean it will reach deep into the Asian continent. 

"This directly affects the strategic security interests of China and other Asian countries," Wang Yi said.

The US Department of Defense said on February 8 that it is planning to deploy the advanced missile system “as quickly as possible” to counter what was described as the growing threat of the weapons capabilities of North Korea.

The Chinese foreign minister said Washington has hidden purposes for the missile system. 

"It doesn't require experts. Ordinary people know that the deployment of the THAAD system is not just to defend South Korea, but a wider agenda and may even serve the possibility of targeting China."

Wang said China is ready to support a wide-ranging UN Security Council resolution against North Korea over its recent rocket launch in a bid to get Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.

“(We) support the United Nations Security Council to take further steps and in adopting a new resolution so that North Korea will pay the necessary price and show there are consequences for its behavior,” Wang said, speaking through an interpreter.

Pyongyang has been under UN sanctions over its nuclear tests and launching missiles considered by the US and South Korea as ballistic and aimed at delivering nuclear warheads.

Last month, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test and on February 7, it successfully launched a long-range rocket that it said placed an earth observation satellite into orbit. However, Washington and Seoul denounced the latter move as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.​

The US, South Korea, and Washington’s other allies, including Japan, are now pursuing new tough sanctions that would mean to target North Korea’s ability to carry out financial transactions.

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