MOSCOW, July 8 (UPI) — Russia voiced strong objections Friday to the U.S. agreement with South Korea to deploy the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea to defend against North Korean aggression.
“From the very beginning of the discussion of this issue we have consistently and invariably pointed at the most dangerous consequences of such a decision and called for our partners not to make this wrong choice,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Unfortunately, our calls have remained unheard. Such actions, regardless of the arguments they are backed with, have the most negative effect on global strategic stability, the adherence to which is such a favored topic of discussions in Washington.”
The plan to install THAAD, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system, in South Korea has been in development since North Korea tested a long-range missile in February. The system is designed to detect missiles and destroy them in flight. Its radar systems, however, can penetrate much of China.
Immediately after the plan was announced Friday, statements from China and Russia suggested the defense system could destabilize the region.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs voiced “strong dissatisfaction” and “firm opposition” to the deployment, suggesting the deal was made without regard to the views of other countries in the region. It warned the THAAD program could slow the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
“China strongly urges the United States and South Korea to stop the deployment process of the THAAD anti-missile system, not take any steps to complicate the regional situation and do nothing to harm China’s strategic security interests,” the ministry said in a statement posted to its website Friday.
THAAD was designed and produced by Lockheed Martin. It was first deployed in 2008, and is now in use by the United States in Guam and Hawaii. The United Arab Emirates and Oman have both signed deals with the United States to purchase the THAAD air defense system.