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China Warns of 'Consequences' Amid US THAAD Deployment to S Korea

© Flickr / Mark HollowayThe US Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor, coming soon to South Korea.
The US Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor, coming soon to South Korea. - Sputnik International
Beijing is opposing the installment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems in South Korea and will protect its interests, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday.

BEIJING, March 7 (Sputnik) — The United States has reportedly started the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea. The country's defense ministry was quoted as saying that parts of the system were delivered on Monday to the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 43 miles south of Seoul.

"We solemnly object to South Korea and the U.S.' deployment of THAAD and will resolutely take necessary actions in order to safeguard our security interests," Geng said, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

The Chinese ministerial spokesman also called on the sides to halt the THAAD deployment process immediately and "not deviate to the wrong path any further."

"Any consequences to follow the necessary actions should be bore by South Korea and the U.S.," Geng stressed.

The THAAD battery will reportedly consist of six truck-mounted launchers, 48 interceptors, a fire control and communications unit, as well as an AN/TPY-2 radar.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor arrives at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the United States Forces Korea (USFK) and released by Yonhap on March 7, 2017. Picture taken on March 6, 2017 - Sputnik International
US THAAD Deployment in S Korea Could Disrupt Strategic Balance
According to the South Korean National Defense Ministry, cited by the Yonhap news agency, the first elements of the THAAD battery are to be delivered to the air base south of Seoul by the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft from the United States on Tuesday.

The agreement on locating US THAAD in South Korea was reached by Washington and Seoul in July 2016. According to the South Korean National Defense Ministry, the action range of the THAAD countermissiles does not exceed 200 kilometers (124.3 miles). The plans for their deployment, however, prompted objections from Russia and China.

Last week, the US and South Korean troops also started their large-scale annual Foal Eagle exercises on the South Korean soil, aimed at deterring North Korean aggression, which also provoked concerns in China.

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