14 March 2017
United Nations, United States (AFP) - The United Nations on Tuesday said it hoped for fresh efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula after China angrily responded to the US deployment of the THAAD missile-defence system in South Korea.
"We hope that efforts will be stepped up to find a path to reduce tensions and to work for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.
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.
China responded that it was "firmly opposed" to the deployment and vowed to "resolutely take necessary measures" to defend its security interests.
The announcement from the US military came after North Korea launched four missiles that it said were part of a training exercise for a strike on US bases in Japan. Three of the missiles came down in waters close to Japan.
The UN Security Council will meet on Wednesday to discuss the latest North Korean missile launches and possible new measures to punish Pyongyang for violating UN resolutions.
China, a permanent council member and Pyongyang's main ally, has argued that deployment of the THAAD would further destabilize the situation on the Korean peninsula.
The council has imposed six sets of sanctions on North Korea -- two of which were adopted last year to significantly ramp up measures and deny Kim Jong-Un's regime hard currency revenue.
A recent report by a UN panel of experts said North Korea was resorting to ingenious ways to circumvent sanctions, by setting up front companies, notably in China and Malaysia.
The report raised questions about China's commitment to implement sanctions
against North Korea.