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China urges Korea, US to pull back THAAD equipment

BEIJING -- Hours after the deployment of a US advanced defense shield went into full swing in South Korea, China strongly urged Seoul and Washington on Wednesday to pull back the equipment, warning that the installation would further up tensions in the region.

Six trailers reportedly carrying the high-profile X-band radar of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, mobile launchers and other elements were seen entering the deployment site in the southeastern county of Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, starting around midnight. 

China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang (Yonhap)
China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang (Yonhap)

The radar and launchers, key elements of the missile interception system, are likely to go into test operation in the near future.  

"We have already expressed our grave concerns to the South Korean and US governments," China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a press briefing after being asked China's stance on the deployment. "The deployment of THAAD in South Korea would destroy the strategic balance and incite a further rise in the tensions."

"The Chinese side strongly urges the US and South Korea to cancel the deployment and withdraw the equipment," the spokesman noted.

The deployment runs counter to the principle of resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and negotiation as well as the goal of denuclearizing the peninsula, the spokesman also said.

He then reiterated that bringing THAAD to the peninsula "gravely impairs" the strategic security interests of China, pledging to take action in response.

"China will not fail to sternly take action necessary to safeguard its interests," he said. (Yonhap)

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