WASHINGTON A senior U.S. diplomat said on Tuesday he hopes China will accept an offer by the United States for a technical briefing on the possible deployment of a U.S. THAAD missile defence system to South Korea, which worries Beijing.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system was a necessary step by the United States to protect itself and regional allies from North Korea missile attacks.
"We realize China may not believe us and also proposed to go through the technology and specifications with them ...and prepared to explain to what the technology does and what it doesn't do and hopefully they will take us up on that proposal," Blinken told the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington
The United States and South Korea agreed to begin talks on the deployment of a THAAD last month after North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Feb. 7.
South Korea's military said on Tuesday that North Korea test fired a short-range missile on its east coast. U.S. President Barack Obama will meet South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday to discuss North Korea's nuclear program.
The possible deployment of the THAAD has unnerved China but Blinken said it was a necessary step until Pyongyang's behaviour changed.
"We have been very clear with Beijing that as long as North Korea continues to take these actions and to advance its missile program, and as long as that is not stopped and reversed we will have to take steps to ensure our own security and that of our allies," Blinken said.
"None of these steps are directed against China but we have also been very clear that as long as this persists ... we will have to take steps," he said.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Alistair Bell)
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