China on Friday again urged the Republic of Korea (ROK) to stop the deployment of a U.S. missile shield.
Photo taken on March 6, 2017 shows a part of equipments for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) arriving in the Osan Air Base, about 70 km south of the capital Seoul, South Korea. [Photo/Xinhua]
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made the remarks at a daily press briefing.
When asked about the impeachment of ROK President Park Geun-hye, Geng said that "we will not comment on the impeachment case as it belongs to the ROK's domestic affairs."
"As a neighboring country, we hope the ROK can maintain political stability," Geng added.
Park was ousted as the country's head of state after the constitutional court upheld a motion to impeach the scandal-ridden leader Friday. She became the first ROK leader to be permanently removed from office through impeachment.
Geng said China had spoken positively about efforts Park had made to improve China-ROK relations when she was in office.
"However, as for her decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, China has expressed definite opposition," Geng said.
"As China and the ROK are each other's neighbors that cannot be moved away, the development of bilateral ties in the past 25 years has brought substantial benefits to both peoples," Geng said. "China has always been open and positive to cooperation and exchanges with the ROK, a position that has never changed," he said. "But the crux of the current difficulties facing bilateral ties is the THAAD deployment."
"We hope the ROK government can face China's concerns squarely, heed the voices of the public, look at the whole picture of bilateral cooperation and regional peace and stability, and stop the deployment to remove obstacles in bilateral ties and bring them back on a normal track," Geng said.
China has repeatedly said that the ROK and U.S. deployment of THAAD gravely undermined regional strategic balance and the security interests of countries in the region, including China, and runs counter to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.
THAAD is designed to intercept incoming missiles at an altitude of 40-150 km. Its X-band radar can peer deep into Chinese and Russian territories.