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THAAD deployment 'must be stopped'

By MO JINGXI,AN BAIJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-05 03:01

The process of deploying an advanced US missile-defense system on the Korean Peninsula "must be stopped immediately", and China will "take necessary measures resolutely" to safeguard its security interests, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.

"We urge relevant parties to take China's reasonable concerns into consideration and stop the deployment process immediately," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news conference.

Her comments came in response to remarks by General Vincent K. Brooks, United States Forces in Korea commander, who said on Friday that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system will be deployed to the Republic of Korea within eight to 10 months.

According to the Seoul-based Yonhap news agency, the commander said that the size of the THAAD battery, which Seoul and Washington agreed in early July to install in the southeast of the ROK, would be bigger than the one deployed on the US island of Guam.

The deployment of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula will gravely upset the regional strategic balance and seriously harm the strategic security interests of countries in the region, including China, Hua said.

The deployment of the anti-missile system also goes against efforts to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, she added.

Amid strong opposition from local residents, the ROK military announced a plan in late September to put the US missile defense system in Seongju county in North Gyeongsang province.

ROK President Park Geun-hye, who has been mired in a scandal involving her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, may face strong headwinds amid the growing public furor over the scandal that saw her approval rating plunge to the lowest of her four years in office.

Hao Qunhuan, a researcher of international political studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that the scandal might lead to a delay in the THAAD deployment, because the ROK government needed more time to tackle the scandal's fallout.

He added that China and the ROK should enhance communications over the issue.

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