01:30 GMT +309 December 2019
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    Two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test.

    Hard Power: Pentagon 'Encircling the World' With Missile Defense Systems

    © REUTERS / U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout
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    The US is continuing to spread its missile defense systems all over the world using dubious reasons as a pretext, former Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva Sergei Ordzhonikidze asserted.

    "Until recently we were told that [Washington's] anti-missile defense system in Europe was aimed at protecting [the US and its allies] from Iran's missile program. Now China is told the same thing," the diplomat said during a lecture at the Museum of Contemporary Russian History.

    The remarks come at a time when Washington and Seoul have launched formal talks over the possible deployment of America's advanced missile defense system, known as Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD), to South Korea in the light of Pyongyang's recent rhetoric, threats, as well as nuclear and missile tests.

    A North Korean long-range rocket is launched into the air at the Sohae rocket launch site in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang February 7, 2016.
    © REUTERS / KCNA
    A North Korean long-range rocket is launched into the air at the Sohae rocket launch site in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang February 7, 2016.

    Many in the Republic of Korea and elsewhere firmly oppose the move since it could further deepen the rift between the two countries and make North Korea's behavior even more erratic.

    Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi expressed concern over the issue. The deployment, according to Russia's top diplomat, would "exceed any conceivable threats that may come from North Korea." For his part, Wang Yi noted that THAAD deployment would "inflict direct harm to the strategic security interests of China and Russia."

    State Department spokesman John Kirby later tried to dispel these concerns by insisting that the system is "purely defensive." But many, including Ordzhonikidze, remain unconvinced.

    North Korean "missiles are simply incapable of hitting targets located on US territory. Meanwhile, the US has almost encircled the world with its missile defense systems," he observed.

     Lockheed Martin shows the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD missile being launched from a mobile launcher at Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility
    © AP Photo / Lockheed Martin
    Lockheed Martin shows the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD missile being launched from a mobile launcher at Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility

    THAAD, produced by Lockheed Martin, is a US missile defense system capable of intercepting short- and medium-range ballistic missiles beyond the Earth's atmosphere. The complex has a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles).

    South Korea operates several of the US-built MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, purchased from Germany.

    Related:

    Korean Crisis: Why Neither Side Would Be Able to Achieve Victory in a War
    Seoul is Considering THAAD Deployment Amid North Korean Threat
    New Sanctions on North Korea: Why Now? What Will They Achieve?
    Moscow, Beijing Concerned Over US Deploying THAAD System to S Korea
    Tags:
    South Korea, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), missile defense systems, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), United States
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