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North Korea warns South against deploying U.S. midrange missiles

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korea condemned the permanent deployment of the U.S. missile defense system THAAD on Wednesday. File Photo by Yonhap
North Korea condemned the "permanent deployment" of the U.S. missile defense system THAAD on Wednesday. File Photo by Yonhap

Aug. 14 (UPI) -- North Korea is condemning the South as the United States plans to deploy midrange conventional missiles in the Asia-Pacific.

Pyongyang's state-controlled news agency KCNA said Wednesday any South Korean cooperation with the United States in the deployment of U.S. ground-based missiles would be a "reckless act."

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"As if it wasn't enough the U.S. missile defense system THAAD was not removed, but rather permanently deployed, current plans to deploy new attack weapons in the South will raise regional tensions," KCNA said. "In the Far East region, this cannot be but a reckless act that leads to a new Cold War and an arms race."

Talk of U.S. plans to deploy missiles in Asia began shortly after the United States agreed to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, on Aug. 2.

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The treaty is an agreement between the United States and Russia, but experts say the accord has had significant impact in curbing arms competition in other parts of the world, including Asia.

North Korea also warned Seoul the South could be "dragged into the U.S. line of control," and could force the country to become a target of neighboring countries -- a reference to China and Russia.

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Pyongyang's criticism of potential South Korea cooperation comes less than two weeks after Chinese state tabloid Global Times warned South Korea and Japan to "wake up" so as to not become the "target of Chinese and Russian missiles."

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On Wednesday KCNA made a direct reference to the Global Times article.

Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun issued a similar statement of condemnation. The paper referred to ongoing renovations at the South Korea THAAD base as an act "against peace."

Refurbishment of housing units for U.S. and South Korean soldiers stationed at the THAAD site in Seongju, central South Korea, began earlier this month.

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