March 17 (UPI) — China is remaining firmly opposed to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, a day after Seoul confirmed THAAD’s powerful X-Band radar arrived on the peninsula.
Chinese Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying said Friday Beijing’s position on THAAD remains unchanged, a day ahead of U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson‘s first state visit to China.
“The Chinese side’s opposition to THAAD deployment is sufficient and fair,” Hua said, according to South Korean news service Newsis. “We urge once again relevant countries to face China’s reasonable concerns and immediately stop deployment.”
China has repeatedly voiced opposition to the THAAD radar, claiming the system could monitor military movements within Chinese borders, even as the United States tried to reassure Beijing THAAD would be used to deter North Korea missiles.
Hua also said while “China understands the position of South Korea to defend its security, the problem is THAAD undermines the balance of regional strategy and does not help with peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”
The Chinese spokeswoman said the deployment places “South Korea in a more dangerous situation,” but did not elaborate on what that danger may be or its potential origins.
South Korea’s “measures to protects its security … should not be based on infringing on the security interests of neighboring China,” Hua said.
Tillerson is expected to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday, South Korean newspaper Segye Ilbo reported.
The top U.S. diplomat is likely to raise the issue of THAAD with Wang, who may stress the equal importance of putting an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and suspending U.S.-South Korea military exercises as ways to resolve tensions, according to the report.
Tillerson has called for a new approach to North Korea and has described the policies of past U.S. administrations as a collective “failure.”