World / Asia-Pacific

China voices opposition to ROK's THAAD deployment plan

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-02-17 09:38

SEOUL - Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui on Tuesday expressed opposition to Republic of Korea (ROK's) plan to deploy a sophisticated US missile defense system after a meeting here with his ROK's counterpart.

Zhang met in Seoul with ROK's First Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam to co-chair the seventh China-ROK high-level strategic dialogue between foreign ministries.

The senior-level dialogue came after ROK and the United States agreed to begin talks about deploying the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in the ROK's territory in response to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear and missile threats.

Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket, which some see as a test of banned ballistic missile technology, on Feb 7 following its fourth nuclear test on Jan 6.

Zhang told reporters after the meeting in Seoul that he exchanged views with Lim about the THAAD issue, among other issues, and said China expressed oppositions to the THAAD deployment.

Zhang said China attaches great importance to ties with ROK, and is ready to work along with the country to boost the sound development of bilateral relations, noting that China is firmly committed to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, which conforms to the common interests of China and ROK.

China opposes the DPRK's nuclear test and rocket launch, and supports a new and effective resolution at the UN Security Council, but sanctions are not an end in themselves, and a fundamental solution to the issue should be sought through dialogue and negotiations, Zhang said.

The senior Chinese diplomat urged relevant parties to act prudently, in an apparent reference to Seoul and Washington that have agreed to launch talks about the THAAD deployment.

China hopes relevant parties would show respect for China's interests and act with prudence, as the deployment is not conducive to easing the current tension and maintaining peace and stability in the region, but would impair China's strategic security interest, Zhang said.

The THAAD, designed to track and destroy ballistic missiles at an altitude of 40 km to 150 km, has been put under suspicion about its operational effectiveness in ROK as hundreds of shorter-range DPRK missiles can fly at a much lower altitude.

There are also safety concerns as the THAAD X-band radar emits super-strong microwaves, allegedly harmful to human bodies within 3.6 km while paralyzing electronic devices and airplanes within 5.5 km.

ROK's officials said the two sides had "candid, in-depth, and constructive" discussions on bilateral ties and the security conditions on the peninsula.

ROK attaches great importance to ties with China and is ready to work for their further development, and would maintain consultations and communications with China regarding the THAAD deployment issue, said the ROK's officials.

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