22 January 2019
China has shown flexibility on sanctions against North Korea, Wang Yi says. Photo: AFP
China has shown flexibility on sanctions against North Korea, Wang Yi says. Photo: AFP

Beijing: US radar system in S Korea would be threat to China

China’s foreign minister voiced anxiety about the possible deployment of a long-range US missile defense system in South Korea, Bloomberg reported Friday.

Wang Yi also said China has shown flexibility in agreeing to proposed new United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

The United States and its ally South Korea are discussing deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD), saying it would be aimed solely at preventing a threatened North Korean attack.

But Wang said THAAD’s powerful radar would threaten China’s national security.

“The X-band radar associated with the THAAD system has a radius that goes far beyond the Korean peninsula and reaches into the interior of China,” Wang said Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

He said: “We believe China’s legitimate security concerns must be taken into account and a convincing explanation must be provided to China. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.”

North Korea’s nuclear test last month and a long-range rocket launch Feb. 7 prompted South Korea’s government to consider installing the missile defense system made by Lockheed Martin Corp. on its soil, a move long opposed by China.

While the debate over THAAD has raised tensions, members of the UN Security Council reached a breakthrough Wednesday on authorizing new sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear program.

UN diplomats said they expected a vote on the resolution over the weekend, Bloomberg said.

Suggesting that China has shown flexibility on sanctions, Wang said other members of the Security Council should understand the country’s position that “normal exchanges, especially those affecting the livelihood of the North Korean people, should not be adversely affected” by sanctions.

“On the other hand, in order to uphold the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, for the sake of denuclearization, our exchanges will be affected to some extent,” he said.

“And this has not come as a surprise to us.”

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