China announced that it had lodged a formal complaint against the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence anti-missile system, whose installation was completed earlier on Thursday.
With this latest measure, Beijing reaffirmed its opposition to the deployment of the American system, fearing that the range of its radar reached Chinese territory and could be used to spy on its military bases, Efe news reported.
“We have lodged stern representations with the Republic of Korea (South Korea),” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang in a press conference.
“Once again, we urge the ROK and the United States to take seriously the security concerns and interests of China and regional countries, halt the deployment process and destroy all relevant equipment,” added Geng.
Moscow has also expressed its opposition on THAAD, whose X-band radar may reach Russian territory.
Both countries believe that the presence of THAAD in South Korea could reduce their power of deterrence, something that affects their strategic interests and modifies the balance of power between the major international powers.
Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Cho June-hyuck said Seoul would carefully observe any possible Chinese reaction, after Beijing imposed a covert boycott of South Korean companies and products as a retaliation for THAAD.
The anti-missile system has led to an intense debate in South Korea, where some locals have opposed its deployment over concerns that it might make them the main target of a North Korean attack and its potential impact on their health and crops.
The full deployment of THAAD, which consists of at least six launchers, comes 14 months after Washington and Seoul agreed to install it on South Korean territory to counteract Pyongyang’s threat.