China seeks halt of Thaad deployment

Beijing, March 7 (IANS) China on Tuesday firmly told the US and South Korea to halt the deployment of anti-missile shield Thaad and warned it will take necessary measures to protect its national security and interests.

The comments come after the US and South Korea announced that have begun to deploy the first elements of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence on the South Korean soil, Efe news reported.

“I want to emphasise that we firmly oppose the deployment of Thaad in South Korea and we will resolutely take necessary measures to defend our own security interests,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang at a press conference.

“We strongly urge the relevant parties to stop the deployment and not go down that wrong path,” he added.

Ignoring criticism from China and Russia, the US and South Korea had accelerated the Thaad’s deployment and expect it to be fully installed by the end of this year in an area located north of Seongju city and around 300 km southeast of Seoul.

According to Seoul and Washington, the Thaad will help in their defence against North Korea, while Beijing and Moscow claims it poses a threat to their national security since the shield can pick up intelligence information from their military bases.

Meanwhile, there have been reports of Beijing boycotting South Korean products and firms, including the Lotte Group, who has provided the land for the Thaad’s installation, over the issue.

Geng refused to confirm these reports and said that China welcomes foreign investment provided the companies comply with the country’s laws, according to the report.

His statements come shortly after Lotte’s website was reportedly hacked and several of its stores in China were closed down for alleged violation of local regulations.

Faced with the possibility of South Korea submitting a complaint to the World Trade Organization, Geng insisted that China maintains its open door policy towards foreign investment.

–IANS

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