AMID high tensions in the Korean peninsula, the U.S. and South Korea will “pay the price” if they go through with their plan to set up the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, warned a Chinese newspaper on Saturday.
According to the state-owned People’s Daily, the system, which was deployed as a first line of defense against increasing North Korean hostility, will only prompt a counter-attack.
Throughout the year, North Korea has conducted various nuclear and ballistic missile tests, as well as a satellite launch. Last month it carried out its fifth nuclear test, which was its largest yet.
Feeling the heat, South Korea agreed in July to work with the U.S. to deploy THAAD against the North Korean threat.
However, the plan has angered China, which believes that the powerful radar used by THAAD would compromise its security, reported Reuters.
The People’s Daily published a commentary on the issue, which said: “Like any other country, China can neither be vague nor indifferent on security matters that affect its core interests,” adding that the Korean peninsula was “no place to take risks”.
It went on to say: “If the United States and South Korea harm the strategic security interests of countries in the region including China, then they are destined to pay the price for this and receive a proper counter attack.”
Earlier this week, China’s Defense Ministry said it “means what it says” on taking action against THAAD, though it has declined to specify what it intends to do.
In response, the U.S. and South Korea have said that the system would not threaten China’s security, as it only targets North Korea.
Though China and North Korea enjoy strong diplomatic and economic ties, Beijing has been displeased by the regional instability caused by North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, which pushed it to support the United Nations’ sanctions against the state.
However, China believes that the best means to resolve the tensions is for North and South Korea to hold peace talks.
Residents in South Korea are also against THAAD, and came out in the thousands in August to protest against it.