US THAAD system threatens Chinese security, says China

US THAAD system threatens Chinese security, the goal is to get Pyongyang back to negotiating table, Chinese foreign minister says

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi before their bilateral meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing January 27, 2016.

Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, said on Friday that the goal is to get Pyongyang back to the negotiating table, adding that the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) deployment system by the US goes far beyond the defense need of the Korean Peninsula and it may even serve the possibility of targeting China.

Wang Yi said that he was concerned by the possible US deployment of its sophisticated THAAD missile defense system to South Korea, saying it could also be used to target China.

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since its first nuclear test in 2006. So far, it has conducted three other atomic tests since then, including last month's numerous ballistic missile launches.

The US and China have different approaches on how to respond North Korea and the UN Security Council is discussing a new resolution.

While Washington urges tougher sanctions and Beijing calls for dialogue.

US officials made remarks that China could do more, however China has insisted that it is already making great efforts to achieve denuclearisation on the "Korean Peninsula" and has previously rejected what it calls "groundless speculation" on its North Korea stance.

Diplomats say that the Americans have been pushing for tough measures that go beyond targeting North Korea's atomic weapons and missile programmes, while China wants future steps to focus on the question of non-proliferation.

"Sanctions are not the end, the purpose should be to make sure that the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula should be brought back to the channel of a negotiation-based resolution," Wang said.

Kerry urged China to use its influence in Pyongyang to help the international community increase pressure on it, State Department spokesman John Kirby said.


A North Korean long-range rocket is launched in this file still image taken from KRT video footage, released by Yonhap on February 7, 2016



Tensions in the region have been on the rise. On Thursday,  North Korea said that it was evicting all South Koreans from the jointly run Kaesong industrial zone, in retaliation for Sunday's rocket launch by the North, a "declaration of war.”

As a response, Seoul declared to begin talks with Washington, as soon as next week.

The discussions would focus on placing one Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) unit with the US military in South Korea, a South Korean defence official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Wang said that he was worried by the move and urged the United States to rethink its strategy.

"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," he said.

Adding that Washington needed to clarify its motives.

"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, going forward with China's policy would be increasingly attentive on the regional nuclear issue and guided by three principles.

"First the Korean Peninsula cannot be nuclearized. This applies to the North and South. Second, there is no military solution to this issue.”

"If there is a war or turbulence it is not acceptable for China. Third, China will not allow its legitimate interests including in national security interests to be undermined."


TRTWorld, Reuters