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Friday, February 26, 2016, 09:34

THAAD: China seeks explanation from US, ROK

By Agencies

THAAD: China seeks explanation from US, ROK
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a media availability with Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department in Washington, Feb 23, 2016. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday underscored his concerns about the long range of a powerful US radar that could be deployed in the Republic of Korea (ROK) along with an advanced missile defense system and said Washington should explain its plans.

Wang told an event hosted by the Center for International and Strategic Studies think tank that China remained committed to working with the United States and other countries to de-nuclearize the Korean peninsula. He said he was optimistic that the United Nations would agree on a resolution criticizing the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for its Jan 6 nuclear test.

But Wang said China remained concerned that the X-band radar to be deployed with the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system built by Lockheed Martin Corp had a range that extended far beyond the Korean peninsula into the interior of China. That in turn, he said, could jeopardize "China's legitimate national security interests."

"We believe China's legitimate security concerns must be taken into account," he said.

"A convincing explanation must be provided to China," Wang said. "I don't think it's too much to ask. It's a reasonable position."

The United States and ROK agreed earlier this month to start talks about deploying the THAAD system to ROK to counter the growing threat of DPRK's weapons capabilities after its Feb 7 launch of a long-range satellite.

One US defense official said the talks were on track for next week.

He said that Beijing and Washington have "far more common interests than areas of disagreement," adding that the two sides should boost strategic mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation and constructively manage differences to achieve greater progress in bilateral ties.

Developing a strong China-US relationship is in the interests of both sides and is in accordance with the aspirations of the international community, he said.

The Chinese foreign minister, who arrived here Tuesday for a three-day official visit, also held meetings with US President Barack Obama and US National Security Advisor Susan Rice on Wednesday.

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