Defense Ministry says THAAD 'will destroy' Korean Peninsula stability
China will conduct "combat-oriented live-fire drills" and test new weapons to protect national security and regional stability, Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said on Thursday.
Yang made the remarks when answering question regarding the latest development that parts of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system were moved to the deployment site in the Republic of Korea.
Yang said that the current situation in the Korean Peninsula was complicated and sensitive and that China had been involved in much constructive work for regional peace and stability.
"The deployment of the THAAD in the ROK will destroy regional strategic balance and stability. China has firmly opposed it," Yang said in a monthly news conference.
"The Chinese military will continue to engage in real combat-oriented training and drills, and will test its new-type weaponry to safeguard national security and regional peace and stability," he said.
On Wednesday, the ROK moved parts of the THAAD system to its deployment site on a golf course about 250 km south of Seoul, a move interpreted as sign that the system will be installed sooner than expected. The top U.S. commander in the Pacific, Admiral Harry Harris, said on Wednesday the system would become operational "in coming days".
China and Russia have said repeatedly that THAAD's advanced radar is far more powerful than needed to monitor military actions in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which the U.S. cited as the reason to deploy it in the ROK. It can penetrate deep into China and Russia.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang urged Washington and Seoul on Wednesday to cancel the deployment, and he warned that "China will resolutely adopt the necessary measures to defend its interests".
THAAD's deployment has severely undermined China's strategic security interests, he said.
Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said on Wednesday that the deployment won't ease tensions or thwart dangers on the peninsula, but will undermine mutual trust among all parties.
Shi Yinhong, director of the Center of U.S. Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said from the beginning China has strongly opposed THAAD's deployment, but Washington and Seoul did not consider Beijing's concerns.
"China has always opposed military conflicts. But as the final choice, it retains the right to undertake all legal actions," he said about the Defense Ministry's remarks.
Zhao Xiaozhuo, director of the Center of China-U.S. Defense Relations Studies of the PLA's Academy of Military Science, said the deployment of the THAAD system has moved a step toward substantially shattering the strategic balance among major powers in Northeast Asia.
"China is forced to make new arrangements to regain balance in the region," he said.