China foreign minister urges US caution on missile system

BEIJING - The United States needs to proceed with caution on possible deployment of an advanced US missile defence system following North Korea's recent rocket launch and not use this as an excuse to affect China's security, the Chinese foreign minister said.

Speaking to US Secretary of State John Kerry in Munich, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed Beijing's opposition to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, China's Foreign Ministry said late on Friday.

Wang "demanded the US side must act cautiously, not use the opportunity to harm China's security interests and not add a new complicating factor to regional peace and stability", the ministry said.

South Korea and the United States are expected to begin talks next week on possible deployment of the system.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Feb. 6 carrying what it called a satellite, drawing renewed international condemnation just weeks after it carried out a nuclear test.

It said the launch was for peaceful purposes, but Seoul and Washington have said it violated UN Security Council resolutions because it used ballistic missile technology.

Wang also repeated China's stance that sanctions "are not the aim" and that everyone should think of ways to restart talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. "This completely accords with the interests of all sides, including China and the United States," Wang added, according to the statement.

In Seoul, the US military stationed in South Korea said it had deployed an additional Patriot missile defence unit to the country in response to recent North Korean provocations.

An air defence artillery unit from Texas is conducting ballistic missile defence training with existing troops deployed in the South, the US Forces Korea also said in a statement.

The Patriot system is a high-velocity interceptor that defends against incoming ballistic and cruise missiles as well as aircrafts.