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China, Russia Promise 'Countermeasures' To U.S.-Korean Defense System

RFE/RL January 13, 2017

China and Russia have expressed concern about a U.S. plan to deploy an antimissile system in South Korea and vowed to take unspecified "countermeasures," state media reported.

The countermeasures "will be aimed at safeguarding interests of China and Russia and the strategic balance in the region," China's state news service Xinhua said on January 13.

"China and Russia urged the United States and South Korea to address their security concerns and stop the deployment of [the antimissile system] on the Korean Peninsula," Xinhua said.

China and Russia held a joint antimissile drill in May after Washington and Seoul began discussions about installing the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to counter increasing missile threats from North Korea. They said they would hold a second drill this year.

Moscow and Beijing have criticized THAAD, saying that they fear the system's powerful radar will compromise their security and charging that it will do nothing to lower tensions on the Korean peninsula.

While China, which is North Korea's only major diplomatic and economic supporter, has recognized the danger of Pyongyang's drive to develop nuclear weapons with frequent missile and nuclear tests, it views the THAAD response as overkill, pointing out that the system's radar has a range that extends into China.

Russian and Chinese diplomats discussed the matter at a meeting in Moscow on January 12 led by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Uauanyou, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

They agreed that introducing THAAD on the Korean Peninsula will "damage regional stability and security," giving the region a "high conflict potential" by "boosting the arms race" there, the ministry said.

The ministry said the diplomats "highlighted the need to exert joint efforts aimed at finding a meaningful strategy that would show the way out of the current deadlock and help settle the nuclear issue and other problems facing the Korean Peninsula so that the atmosphere of confrontation in Southeast Asia evaporates."

With reporting by Reuters and TASS

Source: http://www.rferl.org/a/china- russia-express-concern-us-south-korean missile-defense-system-thaad-vow- countermeasures/28230460.html

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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