MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Moscow and Beijing do not acknowledge North Korea’s ambitions in developing nuclear weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
Since the beginning of 2016, North Korea has conducted a nuclear test, its fourth to date, and launched a long-range rocket, in defiance of UNSC resolutions.
“Both sides have confirmed the common line on insisting on the regime of non-proliferation and we do not acknowledge North Korea’s nuclear ambitions,” Lavrov said during a joint press conference in Moscow with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and the development of its missiles should not become a pretext for the United States to deploy air defense systems to the region as this would create more tension.
On March 4, South Korea and the United States started discussing the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) systems during talks in Seoul.
“Russia and China are against <…> a growth in tension in the region <…> and that this is not used as a pretext for destabilizing the region with arms, including plans to deploy [US] air defense systems,” Lavrov said.
Wang echoed Lavrov’s concerns in regard to the possible deployment of air systems in the region.
“We are extremely against the deployment of US THAAD anti-missile systems in South Korea under the pretext of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. We believe that this will directly damage the interests of Russia and China’s strategic security,” Wang said.
THAAD is a US missile defense system capable of shooting down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. In July 2015, North Korea said it might boost its nuclear deterrent should the United States deploy a mobile missile defense systems in South Korea.