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China urges withdrawal of US THAAD missile defense system in S.Korea

China urges withdrawal of US THAAD missile defense system in S.Korea

Seoul and Washington say the sole objective of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is to defend against North Korean missiles, but China is concerned the system's powerful radar can penetrate its territory and undermine its security and has repeatedly expressed opposition to it. Following the agreement, South Korea's defense ministry was scheduled to conduct an thorough environmental impact analysis that was expected to take up to a month, or even longer, but it appears the ministry and the US have agreed to replace that process with another study conducted on a much smaller-scale.

One resident was hauled up and over 10 others were wounded in by the police.

"Deploying THAAD is a critical measure to defend the ROK (Republic of Korea) people and Alliance forces against North Korean missile threats, as highlighted by the recent ballistic missile launches by North Korea", a statement from the office of the US Secretary of Defense said Tuesday.

The installation is expected to help "secure early operational capability", said Kim Myung-yeon, chief spokesman of his campaign, echoing the ministry's position. The system was reportedly set up amid rising tensions with North Korea.

But candidates for South Korea's May 9 presidential election have debated whether the move should go ahead or be delayed until after the vote.

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Moon, the favourite to win the race, has said the new South Korean administration should decide on whether to deploy the THAAD after gathering public opinions and having further discussions with Washington. Numerous protesters were local residents of the two towns closest to the military site. Graham told Fox News he was impressed by Trump's resolve.

In Seongju county, at the location of the THAAD site, around 4,000 police were present to ensure the equipment's delivery.

The north staged a large-scale artillery drill on Tuesday to mark the 85th anniversary of the founding of its army.

Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party called for an end to the controversy, saying THAAD is the best defense weapon to counter North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threats.

"The courageous artillerymen mercilessly and satisfactorily hit the targets and the gunshots were very correct, he said, adding that they showed well the volley of gunfire of our a-match-for-a-hundred artillery force giving merciless punishment to the hostile forces", KCNA said.

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South Korea's navy has said it plans to hold a joint drill with the USA strike group late this month.

The goal is to have the complete system fully operational by the end of this year but the US and South Korea have publicly stressed the need to speed up the deployment of the technology as tensions have mounted with Pyongyang.

In a phone call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his United States counterpart Donald Trump on Sunday, Xi said it would be best if both Washington and Pyongyang did whatever they could to "maintain restraint and avoid actions that would increase tensions".

US President Donald Trump had earlier vowed to send an "armada" to the region over North Korea's missile tests.

Seoul and Washington say the sole objective of THAAD is to defend against North Korean missiles, but China is concerned the system's powerful radar can penetrate its territory and undermine its security.

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