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Premier Li tells Obama of opposition to THAAD deployment plan

Zhao Huanxin/Zhang Yunbi
Updated: Sep 21,2016 6:43 AM     China Daily

Premier Li Keqiang meets with US President Barack Obama in New York on Sept 21.[Photo/China Daily]

Premier Li Keqiang voiced Beijing’s opposition to the plan by Washington and Seoul to deploy an advanced missile-defense system in the Republic of Korea while meeting with US President Barack Obama in New York.

Premier Li said “it is hoped that all parties will avoid taking actions that lead to escalation of the tense situation”.

He and Obama met on the sidelines of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept 19.

Earlier this year, Washington and Seoul agreed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, angering Beijing and Moscow. The system’s radar has a maximum reach of 2,000 km and could cover parts of China and Russia.

Earlier this month, tension rose anew on the Korean Peninsula after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted a nuclear test in an area near the China-DPRK border.

Premier Li said China endorses the UN Security Council’s plan to further respond to the nuclear test by the DPRK.

Beijing remains committed to denuclearization of the peninsula, ensuring peace and stability, and resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation, Premier Li said.

A White House statement released later on Sept 19 said Obama and Premier Li “resolved to strengthen coordination in achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”.

Zhang Tuosheng, director of the research department at the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies, said China should continue tackling two tasks simultaneously-counter-acting the THAAD deployment plan as well as strengthening cooperation with the US and the ROK in boosting denuclearization of the peninsula.

“No efforts should be spared to resume the Six-Party Talks, and even if the resumption is unlikely, support should be given to other dialogue promoting peace on the peninsula and denuclearization,” Zhang said.

Jia Xiudong, a senior researcher in international affairs at the China Institute of International Studies, said the DPRK nuclear tests and the US-ROK plan to deploy THAAD are “pushing the peninsula situation to a deadlock, which serves no interest of any party”.

The root cause of the nuclear issue is the mutual distrust between the US and the DPRK, and the only way out is to resume dialogue, Jia said.

During their talk, Premier Li and US President Obama also touched upon bilateral trade and investment, as well as global issues including sustainable development, refugee crises and peacekeeping.

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