Beijing has issued a warning to the United States over its plans to deploy an advanced anti-missile system in South Korea. It comes amid escalating tensions in the region since North Korea carried out its fifth and largest nuclear test earlier in September.
The Chinese Defence Ministry has said that it "means what it says" when it says it will consider countermeasures if the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) is deployed to counter nuclear threats from North Korea, China's neighbour. China's warning comes one day before South Korea is due to announce a location for the THAAD site.
According to Reuters, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun said on Thursday (29 September): "We will pay close attention to relevant developments, and consider taking necessary actions to protect national strategic security and the regional strategic balance. What needs to be stressed is that Chinese people mean what they say."
Beijing has continued to express anger at the THAAD deployment plans due to fears that the system's radar will be able to track its own military capabilities. Along with Russia, China has also raised concerns over the deployment further raising tension in the Korean peninsula.
The US has since dismissed these concerns, noting that THAAD would only be targeted at North Korea and would not affect any other third party. On 27 September, the US said that it would be deploying THAAD "as soon as possible" and that the deployment was a "done deal".
Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said: "[Considering] the accelerating pace of North Korea's missile tests, we intend to deploy on an accelerated basis. I would say as soon as possible."
North Korea has previously threatened a "physical response" to THAAD. On 13 September, North Korea warned that if the Obama administration continues to pursue actions to "stifle" their nation, it would invite a "merciless nuclear strike which will lead them to a final ruin".
"The people of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) are now burning with hatred for the sworn enemies," a spokesperson for the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee in Pyongyang said. "The DPRK is fully ready to mercilessly strike brutal provocateurs... and wipe them out to the last man at any moment."