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China issues warning to U.S., South Korea on THAAD

Beijing’s foreign ministry said the deployment would "damage" regional security interests.

By Elizabeth Shim
China issues warning to U.S., South Korea on THAAD
China’s foreign ministry expressed opposition to the joint U.S.-South Korea decision to deploy THAAD on the Korean peninsula in response to a recent meeting. File Photo courtesy of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency

SEOUL, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- China issued a strong warning to the United States and South Korea again regarding THAAD deployment on the Korean peninsula.

The admonition from Beijing comes at a time when members of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's transition team, including Trump's choice for national security adviser, Michael Flynn, are meeting with South Korean envoys.

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During a bilateral meeting Monday, Flynn said the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system was the right decision and serves as a symbol of the solidarity of the alliance, South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported.

On Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, "Regarding the THAAD issue, we are watching the position of the Trump side and the South Korean side," in response to the news of the recent bilateral meeting.

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In October, Chinese state media had questioned the legitimacy of South Korea's decision to deploy THAAD in the wake of the political scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye that has led to her impeachment.

Chinese Communist Party newspaper People's Daily had suggested at the time the crisis could mean Seoul's position on THAAD could change because of Park's fragile hold on power.

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Beijing is concerned the powerful THAAD radar would be used by the United States to monitor China. The technology has a surveillance capability that extends 620 miles.

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On Thursday, Hua added, "China has expressed concern and clear opposition on the [THAAD] issue several times," and warned the deployment would do damage to the strategic and security interests of the region, including those of China.

THAAD "would not help maintain the peace," Hua said.

"We urge the process of THAAD deployment be stopped," Hua said, adding China would take necessary measures to safeguard its national security and interests.

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