As the United States and South Korea continue to discuss about the potential deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed concern Tuesday over the possible move. Washington and Seoul are mulling to install THAAD system in the Korean Peninsula to counter threats from North Korea that has carried nuclear and missile tests since the beginning of this year.
“Together with our Chinese friends, we realize that following this course will create a real threat to the security of our countries, and destabilize the strategic stability in Northeast Asia,” Lavrov said, according to China's Xinhua News Agency.
The Russian foreign minister noted that while Moscow and Beijing respect North Korea’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the two countries do not support Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Russia and China are committed to the denuclearization of the peninsula and the resuming of the six-party talks, which is “the real way to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue,” Lavrov said.
Last month, the two countries — the strongest supporters of the Kim Jong Un-led regime — urged North Korea to reopen international talks on its nuclear program and abide by a United Nations Security Council resolution that does not allow Pyongyang’s missile tests. The reclusive nation has threatened to carry out more nuclear tests after it said in February that it launched a rocket and test-fired missiles this year.
Following this, Washington and Seoul formally began talks over the possible deployment of THAAD missile system.
Lt. Gen. David Mann, commanding general of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, told Defense News last month that THAAD “would obviously be a huge increase in capability, really proving more of a layered missile defense there on the peninsula. ... It’s very, very important that we clarify that that radar, that system, is not looking at China. That system is oriented, if the decision is made to deploy it, that system would be oriented on North Korea.”
China has maintained its opposition to the THAAD deployment, saying the system could be used to monitor its missile launches as far inland as Xian in the northwest. Seoul, which has substantial trade ties with the world’s second-largest economy, has previously denied any formal discussion about the installation of THAAD, which can reportedly shoot down short-, medium- and immediate-range ballistic missiles.