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25 Apr, 2024 15:45

China threatens US with response to missile deployment

Beijing has accused Washington of undermining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region
China threatens US with response to missile deployment

Beijing has condemned Washington’s deployment of intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region and will take all effective measures to prevent the US from “messing up” the South China Sea, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Thursday.

His comments come after the US kicked off its largest joint exercise with the Philippines since the Cold War in the South China Sea earlier this week. The exercise, dubbed Balikatan, is set to run through May 10 and is said to involve over 11,000 US soldiers and 5,000 Philippine servicemen. A French frigate as well as troops from France and Australia are also participating in the event.

Earlier this month, the US also held a separate two-week round of exercises with the Philippines dubbed Salaknib 2024, during which it deployed SM-6 missiles capable of reaching Taiwan. The weapon has a maximum range of more than 400km while a new medium-range MRC Typhon land missile system is capable of launching from the Philippines island of Luzon. 

Asked to comment on the move, Wu stated that Beijing “firmly opposes” the deployment of such weapons by the US in the Asia-Pacific and stressed that such an action by Washington “severely threatens the security of regional countries and undermines regional peace and stability. China will take resolute countermeasures.”

“We hope the relevant country could refrain from opening the door to the devil, which will only end up hurting everyone, including itself,” the spokesman said.

Wu stated that China sees the strengthening diplomatic relations between the US and the Philippines as the two countries’ business. However, he stressed that such relations must not harm China’s, or any other country’s interests, and must not undermine peace and stability in the region.

China's military will continue to pay close attention to the situation in the region and will take “all effective measures to respond effectively and will never allow relevant parties to mess up the South China Sea,” Wu added. 

Russia’s ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said earlier that the Pentagon’s deployment of medium-range missiles in the Philippines would constitute a “dark day” for international security and accused Washington of deliberately escalating military confrontation, fueling hotbeds of tension and creating closed groups and military-political alliances in the region.

“[The US] is trying to return the world to the worst times of the Cold War and teetering on the edge of a nuclear conflict,” Antonov said earlier this month, urging Washington not to open this “Pandora’s box.”