China vows 'resolute' measures after THAAD deployment

China said Tuesday it would "resolutely" defend its security interests as the US began deploying the THAAD missile-defence system in South Korea that Beijing fears will undermine its own military capabilities.

"We are firmly opposed to the deployment of THAAD in the Republic of Korea by the US and the ROK," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

"China will resolutely take necessary measures to defend our own security interests. All consequences entailed from this will be borne by the US and the ROK."

The US Pacific Command said Monday its military had begun deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to South Korea, which is aimed at defending the US ally from a North Korean attack.

The latest tests by nuclear-armed North Korea came Monday when it launched four missiles that it said were part of training for a strike on US bases in Japan.

Three of the missiles came down in waters provocatively close to Japan.

Beijing has railed against the deployment of THAAD, while the South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group has come under pressure in China for providing land to host the system.

Geng, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, did not specify what measures China would take.

"We strongly urge relevant parties to stop the deployment and not to travel down that wrong path," he said.

Chinese protesters have held demonstrations denouncing Lotte, which also faces multiple threats of consumer or business boycotts.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Tuesday that Chinese authorities had shut down 39 of Lotte's retail outlets in the country, citing fire-safety concerns.

The THAAD system is meant to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

Dozens of Lotte stores suspended in China amid missile row
Seoul (AFP) March 7, 2017 - South Korean retail giant Lotte has been forced to shut down dozens of stores in China, it said Tuesday as diplomatic rows over a controversial US missile system sparked boycott calls against Seoul.

Lotte has faced growing opposition in China since signing a deal to provide land to host the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system loathed by Beijing.

The first parts of the system -- intended to guard against threats from nuclear-armed North Korea -- arrived on Monday and China fears it would undermine its own military capabilities.

Chinese officials have shut down 39 out of retail chain Lotte Mart's 99 stores in the country over fire safety concerns, a Lotte spokesman said.

Each Lotte Mart employs about 130 Chinese workers, the spokesman said, adding the suspensions, if prolonged, would put nearly 5,000 jobs at risk.

"We are afraid that the recent development may cause a loss of thousands of jobs for Chinese people," he told AFP.

"We will ask the South Korean government for diplomatic support to help resolve the incidents believed to be retaliations," he said, without elaborating further.

Lotte -- the South's number five business group -- has invested more than $8 billion in its Chinese operations and has a total of 120 outlets in the country.

Chinese protesters have held demonstrations denouncing Lotte, which was previously forced to halt construction of $2.6 billion theme-park project in the northeastern city of Shenyang by state safety inspectors.

Beijing has not directly threatened Lotte Group, but it vowed Tuesday to "resolutely" defend its security interests.

MISSILE DEFENSE
Protesters sue to stop US missile system in S. Korea
Seoul (AFP) Feb 28, 2017
People living near a South Korean golf course on Tuesday sued to stop it hosting a controversial US missile system loathed by Beijing, lawyers said, after Chinese media issued a veiled threat of a consumer boycott over the plan. A subsidiary of retail giant Lotte Group, South Korea's fifth-biggest company, signed an agreement Tuesday with the defence ministry to provide the course in the sou ... read more

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