Sun, Jul 30, 2017 - Page 1 News List

China condemns missile launch, ‘urges’ North Korea to abide by UN resolutions

AFP, BEIJING and SEOUL

China yesterday condemned North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile and urged restraint by all sides after the US and South Korea held a military exercise in response to the test.

“China opposes North Korea’s violations of UN Security Council resolutions and [its actions] contrary to the general aspirations of the international community,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) said.

Beijing “urged North Korea to abide by UN resolutions and stop taking actions that could worsen the situation,” Geng said in a brief statement on the ministry’s Web site.

“At the same time, [China] hopes that all parties concerned will exercise caution and avoid aggravating tensions and act together to preserve peace and stability on the peninsula,” he added.

Washington, Tokyo, Seoul and the EU all swiftly condemned Friday’s missile test.

The US and South Korea conducted a live-fire exercise using surface-to-surface missiles after the launch, the US Army said.

The heads of the US and South Korean militaries discussed “military response options” after North Korea’s launch, the Pentagon said.

China, Pyongyang’s main economic and diplomatic ally, opposes any military intervention and has called for a resolution through dialogue.

The test has prompted the South to speed up the deployment of a US missile defense system, South Korean Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo said.

The US military would also roll out “strategic assets” in the South in response to the test, he said, without providing further details.

Strategic assets normally refer to high-profile weapons systems, such as stealth bombers and aircraft carriers.

Parts of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system were transported to the country under the government of former South Korean president Park Geun-hye, but new South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month suspended deployment, citing the need for a new environmental impact assessment.

“We will soon start consultations on the tentative deployment” of the remaining components of the THAAD battery in response to Pyongyang’s most recent test, Song told journalists.

The THAAD battery is composed of six interceptor missile launchers. Two launchers have been tentatively deployed at a golf course-turned-US military base in Seongju County, about 300km south of Seoul.

A senior official at South Korea’s presidential Blue House said Seoul had also informed Beijing of the decision.

The THAAD deployment has infuriated China, which has argued that it will destabilize the region.

The South Korean Ministry of National Defense also released a video of a newly developed ballistic missile, which it said was one of the world’s “most accurate and powerful” weapons and capable of striking “any target in the North at any time and any place.”

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