China calls for halt to US THAAD deployment in South Korea

China said it wants to halt THAAD US anti-missile defense system in South Korea and dismantle relevant equipment.

North Korea
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is seen in Seongju, South Korea, June 13, 2017. Picture taken on June 13, 2017. Reuters

China on Saturday called for a halt to the deployment of the THAAD US anti-missile defense system in South Korea and for relevant equipment to be dismantled, China's UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi told the U.N. Security Council.

"The deployment of the THAAD system will not bring a solution to the issue of (North Korea's) nuclear testing and missile launches," Liu told the council after it imposed new sanctions on North Korea over two long-range missile launches.

He also urged North Korea to "cease taking actions that might further escalate tensions."

On 11 July, US shot down a simulated, incoming intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) similar to the ones being developed by countries like North Korea, in a new test of the nation's THAAD missile defenses.

Planned months ago, the US missile defense test over the Pacific Ocean has gained significance after North Korea's July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) heightened concerns about the threat from Pyongyang.

The US Missile Defense Agency said the IRBM was designed to behave similarly to the kinds of missiles that could threaten the United States.

"The successful demonstration of THAAD against an IRBM-range missile threat bolsters the country's defensive capability against developing missile threats in North Korea and other countries," the Missile Defense Agency said in a statement.