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China, Russia plan response to U.S. missile defense placement in South Korea

The two nations suggest placement of the system could be detrimental to relations in the region, and potentially lead to escalation of arms races and military drills there.

By
Stephen Feller
Chinese and Russian officials once again expressed concern about potential U.S. plans to place a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system, pictured, in South Korea to counter threats there from North Korea. Photo by U.S. Missile Defense Agency
Chinese and Russian officials once again expressed concern about potential U.S. plans to place a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system, pictured, in South Korea to counter threats there from North Korea. Photo by U.S. Missile Defense Agency

MOSCOW, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- China and Russia think the proposed placement of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea is a threat to both of their nations, and are planning responses to protect themselves from dangers they see as a result of the anti-missile technology being so close to them.

Diplomats from China and Russia met in Moscow Thursday, with each releasing statements about working together to thwart what they see as a threat to their sovereignty. Leaders in both countries have demanded the U.S. not place the system in South Korea

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A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, may soon be positioned in South Korea by the United States to help predict and defend against any missiles, including those with nuclear weapons attached to them, launched from North Korea.

U.S. officials sought in September to quell the fears of China and Russia that the system would be used against them, calling the decision "a defensive measure aimed not at China, but at North Korea. It is a defense-based decision, not a political decision."

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China warned against the placement of the system in December, saying they were concerned the THAAD radar, which is capable of surveillance as far as 620 miles away, would be used to monitor China.

Members of the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries warned Thursday placement of THAAD could be detrimental to relations in the area and may "further heighten tensions and boost arms race in the region as well as expand military drills."

Both China and Russia have been holding military drills in the region, including China's recent exercises to test its first aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific.

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"In this regard, the parties pointed out that plans on deploying the U.S. THAAD anti-missile systems to South Korea could damage regional stability and security," the Russian ministry said Thursday. "The parties highlighted the need to exert joint efforts aimed at finding a meaningful strategy that would show the way out of the current deadlock and help settle the nuclear issue and other problems facing the Korean peninsula so that the atmosphere of confrontation in Southeast Asia evaporates ensuring peace and stability in the region."

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