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Posted at: Jul 9, 2016, 1:45 PM; last updated: Jul 9, 2016, 1:45 PM (IST)

US offers ‘informational briefing’ to China on THAAD deployment

Washington, July 9

The US has offered to provide an “informational briefing” to China on the deployment of THAAD anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea after Beijing strongly objected to its placement in the Korean peninsula.

“There’s no reason why this deployment should be of concern to Chinese leaders since it is a purely defensive measure and because North Korea continues to pose such a real and significant threat to South Korea,” the State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference.

China yesterday strongly objected to THAAD’s deployment, which the US has said is only against the North Korean threat and is not aimed at any other country. The US Ambassador to China Max Sieben Baucus was summoned by Chinese Government in Beijing.

“We have certainly listened to their concerns and we have offered to provide informational briefings for them on the way the system works,” Kirby said.

“This is a purely defensive system that we wouldn’t have to talk about and wouldn’t have to consider if the DPRK (North Korea) had proven, in recent weeks and months, willing to take a different, more peaceful path,” he said.

“We have offered to be as transparent as possible about the capabilities of this system, which, again, is purely defensive,” he argued.

“We have obligations to help protect our South Korean allies and that’s why we’re having this discussion, that’s why this decision was made.

“There should be no reason why the Chinese or anybody else needs to be concerned about what is a purely defensive system,” he said in response to a question.

US Senator John McCain welcomed the decision on deployment of THAAD missiles in South Korea.

“This decision was a sovereign choice of the South Korean government and will provide further protection for alliance forces and the ROK population against North Korea’s ballistic missiles forces in the years ahead,” he said.

“If the government of China has a concern with this deployment it should seek to use its influence to change the decisions being made in Pyongyang instead of attempting to limit Seoul’s ability to defend itself against the growing threat to its north,” McCain said. — PTI

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