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US and ROK will 'suffer' over THAAD

By An Baijie | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-28 07:58

Lotte Group approves land swap with govt for anti-missile system

China on Monday warned against the deployment of an advanced US missile defense system in the Republic of Korea, saying China's security interests should not be undermined.

The United States and the ROK will suffer the consequences if the anti-missile system is deployed, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in Beijing on Monday after a ROK company approved a land swap with the government.

China strongly urged relevant parties to stop the deployment and "will resolutely take necessary measures to safeguard our security interests, and the US and ROK will suffer all the consequences from this", Geng said.

"China has stressed time and again that it understands the reasonable security concerns of certain parties, but one country's security should not come at the expense of another," Geng said.

The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system will gravely harm the regional strategic balance and seriously undermine the security interests of regional countries, he said.

His remarks followed the approval of a land-swap deal between the Lotte Group and ROK's Defense Ministry on Monday. The signing ceremony would happen as early as Tuesday, an official said.

Strong oppositions

The ROK government decided last year to deploy the THAAD system on land that is part of a golf course owned by Lotte in the Seongju region, southeast of Seoul.

The land-swap deal was initially scheduled to be inked last month, but it was delayed amid strong oppositions at home and abroad. On Feb 3, Lotte held a board meeting, in which it failed to approve the contract.

Residents from Seongju, North Gyeongsang province, held a rally in front of Lotte International head office in Seoul on the day of the board meeting, demanding the company refuse the land provision, according to a report in The Korean Times.

"The approval should be made in the next administration," said Na Gyung-che from the opposition Justice Party. "We hope Lotte will make a wise decision."

Parliamentary and public objections have been harsh as the THAAD is not aimed to shoot down missiles from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, but to make the ROK become part of the US missile defense networking in Northeast Asia.

DPRK missiles targeting the ROK fly at an altitude of less than 40 kilometers. THAAD is designed to intercept missiles at an altitude of 40-150 km.

The THAAD's X-band radar can peer deep into the territories of neighboring countries including China and Russia, damaging security interests of the two countries and breaking regional balance.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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