(FILES) This handout photo taken on November 1, 2015 and received by the US Department of Defense/Missile Defense Agency shows a terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor being launched from a THAAD battery located on Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean, during the Flight Test Operational (FTO)-02 Event 2a. A controversial missile defense system whose deployment has angered China is now operational in South Korea, a US defense official said May 1, 2017. Washington and Seoul agreed to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery deployment in July in the wake of a string of North Korean missile tests. “It has reached initial intercept capability,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity./ AFP PHOTO / DoD / Ben Listerman /
China called Tuesday for the immediate suspension of a controversial missile defence system hours after Washington confirmed the shield was now operational in South Korea.
“China’s position is clear-cut and firm. We oppose the deployment of the THAAD system in (South Korea) and urge relevant sides to immediately stop the deployment. We will firmly take necessary measures to uphold our interests,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.
Washington and Seoul had agreed to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery deployment in July in the wake of a string of North Korean missile tests.
At the briefing, Geng also expressed support for US President Donald Trump’s comments that he would consider meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Trump said Monday he would be “honored” to meet Kim under the right conditions, dialling down earlier threats of military action.
“China has always believed that dialogue and consultation… is the only realistic and viable way to achieve denuclearisation,” Geng said.
“We also said many times that the US and DPRK… should make political decisions at an early date, take action and show good faith so that we can create a better atmosphere for resuming the peace talks and settling the issue,” he added.