China on Tuesday warned of stern measures against the ongoing deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.
"China calls for an immediate stop to the THAAD deployment on the Korean Peninsula," China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a regular press briefing.
"China will pursue protecting its interests going forward by taking the necessary measures in a stern manner."
He was speaking in response to the U.S.' announcement that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery being installed on a former golf course in the southern county of Seongju is "operational and has the ability to intercept North Korean missiles and defend" South Korea.
China has protested the move worried that the high-tech system will undermine its strategic interests since the deployment decision was announced in July. Beijing has enforced diverse steps widely seen as economic retaliation including a restriction on travel to South Korea, despite Seoul and Washington's repeated assurance that the system targets only North Korea's missile threats.
"When it comes to the THAAD issue, China's stance is very clear and firm," the spokesman said. "We object to its deployment being pushed by the U.S. and South Korea."