A sign is displayed outside a golf course being used as the site for the recently installed US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, in Seongju on March 18, 2017. (ED JONES / AFP)
SEOUL — Any move by the United States to place new ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in the Republic of Korea (ROK) could spark a "new Cold War" and an escalating arms race in the region, the state media of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said on Wednesday.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper this month said he was in favour of placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia, a day after the United States withdrew from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia.
The defence ministry of ROK has said there had been no discussion of placing American intermediate-range missiles in the country, and there were no plans to consider the idea
"The US pointed out that it is now examining a plan for deploying ground-to-ground medium-range missiles in the Asian region and South Korea has been singled out as a place for the deployment," DPRK's KCNA said.
The ROK is also referred to as South Korea and DPRK as North Korea.
"It is a reckless act of escalating regional tension, an act that may spark off a new Cold War and arms race in the Far Eastern region to deploy a new offensive weapon in South Korea," it said in a commentary.
Other senior US officials have said any deployment of such weaponry would be years away.
The defence ministry of ROK has said there had been no discussion of placing American intermediate-range missiles in the country, and there were no plans to consider the idea.
The KCNA statement also criticised recent moves to improve military sites in the ROK that host US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems, which are designed to intercept ballistic missiles.
"It is a hard fact that the deployment of THAAD is pursuant to the US strategy to contain great powers and hold supremacy in Northeast Asia, not the one for 'shielding' South Korea from someone's 'threat'," KCNA said.
DPRK's military has launched a series of missiles in recent weeks to protest what it sees as a military build-up in the ROK, as well as joint military exercises by the ROK and American troops stationed on the peninsula.
The launches have complicated attempts to restart talks between US and DPRK negotiators over the future of the country's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, which prompted sanctions by the United Nations Security Council.
HONG KONG NEWS