China criticizes U.S. anti-missile North Korea plan

BEIJING Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:36am EDT

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei asks journalists for questions during a news conference in Beijing July 7, 2011. REUTERS/David Gray

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei asks journalists for questions during a news conference in Beijing July 7, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/David Gray

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Monday U.S. plans to bolster missile defenses in response to provocations by North Korea would only intensify antagonism, and urged Washington to act prudently.

"The anti-missile issue has a direct bearing on global and regional balance and stability. It also concerns mutual strategic interests between countries," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans on Friday to bolster U.S. missile defenses in response to "irresponsible and reckless provocations" by North Korea, which has threatened a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States.

Hong said China believed efforts to increase security and resolve the problem of nuclear proliferation were best achieved through diplomatic means.

"Actions such as strengthening anti-missile (defenses) will intensify antagonism and will not be beneficial to finding a solution for the problem," Hong said.

"China hopes the relevant country will proceed on the basis of peace and stability, adopt a responsible attitude and act prudently."

The Pentagon said the United States had informed China, North Korea's neighbor and closest ally, of its decision to add more interceptors but declined to characterize Beijing's reaction.

The remarks from China's Foreign Ministry come days before U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen visits China to discuss implementation of economic sanctions against North Korea.

China has expressed unease at previous U.S. plans for missile defense systems, as well as sales of such systems to Taiwan and Japan, viewing it as part of an attempt to "encircle" and contain China despite U.S. efforts to ease Chinese fears.

China has responded by developing an anti-missile system of its own, announcing the latest successful test in January.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Comments (17)
Dave8757 wrote:
China to US: “Dude.. Don’t try to defend yourself, it’ll make North Korea mad!”

Mar 18, 2013 4:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
sylvan wrote:
Yes, the whole world should continue to tiptoe around the biggest whack job on the planet. Who cares what the hacker country of polluted waters and stolen intellectual property thinks about our decisions.

Mar 18, 2013 6:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
tbro wrote:
“China hopes the relevant country will proceed on the basis of peace and stability, adopt a responsible attitude and act prudently.”

That statement cuts both ways, being as China holds the leash attached to the corpulent, 20 something leader. They’ve let him and his predecessors go this far, so it’s pretty damned audacious of them to be lecturing us about simply defending ourselves.

Mar 18, 2013 7:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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