China has lodged a protest with South Korea after Seoul restarted negotiations with the US to resume the deployment of the anti-missile system Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), a Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday. Two out of the six launchers of the THAAD were already installed before work was suspended by South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in in June, pending an environmental impact report, Efe news reported. Washington and Seoul restarted negotiations on Monday, following recent launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles by North Korea, to finalize the specifics of the deployment of the remaining four launchers.
China said it expressed its concern to South Korea “through diplomatic channels” and had urged the two countries to halt the installation and dismantle the part that has already been deployed, said the spokesperson’s office of the Chinese chancellery. In July 2016, South Korea, under former President Park Geun-Hye, agreed to install the THAAD as a protective measure against repeated missile tests by North Korea.The deployment began in April despite strong opposition by China, which believes the powerful THAAD radars, installed about 300 km southeast of Seoul, could be used to spy on its military bases.