Beijing: China will continue to conduct live fire drills and test new weapons to safeguard its national security, the country’s defence ministry said on Thursday when asked about the deployment of the US anti-missile defence system THAAD in South Korea.
Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun made the comment at a monthly news briefing in Beijing. ‘The deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea damages the regional strategic balance and stability. The Chinese side is resolutely opposed to this,’ Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told reporters.
‘China´s military will continue to carry out live-fire military exercises and test new military equipment in order to firmly safeguard national security and regional peace and stability.’
China has long promoted dialogue to resolve the ‘Korean nuclear issue’ as North Korea has repeatedly threatened to destroy the United States which in turn has warned that ‘all options are on the table’ in ending North Korean provocations.
The Trump administration said on Wednesday it aimed to push North Korea into dismantling its nuclear and missile programmes, which are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, through tougher international sanctions and diplomatic pressure.
South Korea and the United States agreed on Thursday on ‘swift punitive measures’ against North Korea in the event of further provocation.
The South also said the deployment of a US anti-missile defence system was moving ahead effectively a day after angry protests against the battery and fierce opposition from China.
The top US Commander in the Pacific, Admiral Harry Harris, said on Wednesday the THAAD system would be operational ‘in coming days’ bolstering the ability to defend the US ally and the 28,500 US troops stationed there.
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system works by a network of radars picking up on any incoming threats.
The command centre then sends a signal to the THAAD launcher which sends its own missile into the path of the threat. It intercepts any incoming rockets before it hits its intended target.
A North Korean government official has vowed the country will ‘never stop’ nuclear and missile tests for as long as the US continues to show ‘hostile acts’ of aggression.
‘The nuclear test is an important part of our continued efforts to strengthen our nuclear forces,’ said Sok Chol Won, director of the North’s Institute of Human Rights at the Academy of Social Sciences, in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.