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Thursday, July 14, 2016, 09:53

China firmly opposes THAAD site selection

By Mo Jingxi

China strongly opposes the latest move by the Republic of Korea and the United States, which announced on Wednesday the selection of the site for deploying an advanced missile defense system.

The two sides agreed to deploy one battery of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in Seongju county, about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, by the end of next year, according to the ROK Defense Ministry.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China is firmly opposed to the deployment and strongly urges the US and ROK to halt the process.

"The deployment of THAAD will seriously damage the strategic balance in the region and harm the security interests of countries in the region, including China, and it goes against the efforts of maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula," Lu said. "China will resolutely take necessary measures to safeguard its own interests."

Seongju, a county in North Gyeongsang province, is a largely agricultural area just west of the city of Daegu.

The system will be able to protect up to two-thirds of the ROK from missiles of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It will also protect key industrial facilities, including nuclear power plants and oil depots, the ROK ministry added.

Although THAAD's 200-km range for intercepting missiles will not cover Seoul, its X-band radar can reach Chinese and Russian territories far beyond the DPRK, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The radar in one mode can detect missiles within a radius of 600 to 800 km. However, it can be converted to a forward-based mode with a detection range of as far as 2,000 km, Xinhua reported.

The distance between the THAAD location and China's border with the DPRK is about 600 km.

"In this way, any missile tests conducted by Beijing in northeast, northern or eastern China will be under US surveillance," said Wang Junsheng, a researcher of the National Institute of International Strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"In fact, THAAD is not capable of intercepting short-range Scud missiles from Pyongyang, as it mainly deals with medium- and long-range missiles," Wang said, adding that the system will pose a grave threat to China's strategic security and interests.

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