09:39 GMT02 June 2020
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    China has expressed serious concern to the United States and South Korea over the construction of the US Terminal-High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — The US military has started moving equipment for the THAAD missile defense system to its deployment site.

    "We closely follow these messages. We have already expressed serious concerns about this to the US and South Korean side," ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a briefing.

    The spokesman reiterated China's stance on THAAD undermining Chinese strategic security interests and raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

    "China will undertake all the necessary firm measures to protect its interests," Geng said, calling on both Washington and Seoul to halt the deployment and stressing that the move distorts the balance of power in Asia, undermines efforts at denuclearizing the Korea Peninsula and threatens regional peace and stability.

    South Korea approved the land transfer deal needed to provide land for the anti-ballistic missile system under its forces hosting agreement with the United States on Thursday. Installation work started shortly after despite local protests and the fact that the environmental impact assessment was still incomplete.

    On March 8, components for the THAAD system began to arrive in South Korea as Seoul wanted the system to be deployed rapidly in response to the threat from North Korea’s ballistic missile tests.

    Seoul and Washington first agreed to deploy THAAD in July 2016. The system is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles at the terminal incoming stage.

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    Tags:
    Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Chinese Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, China, United States, South Korea
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