BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States is damaging stability in the Asia-Pacific region by positioning a missile defense radar in Japan, China said on Thursday.
Japan, an ally of the United States, has voiced growing anxiety over China’s more assertive posture in the East China Sea, where the neighbors are locked in a dispute over control of a group of uninhabited islets.
North Korea has carried out a series of missile tests this year, including two medium-range missiles capable of hitting Japan. Pyongyang has also threatened another nuclear test.
Japan’s defense ministry has said an X-Band radar system was delivered on Tuesday to the U.S. military’s communication facility in Kyoto in the western part of the country. It is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of the year.
“Neighboring countries pushing forward the deployment of anti-missile systems in the Asia-Pacific and seeking unilateral security is not beneficial to strategic stability and mutual trust in the region,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing.
“It is not beneficial to peace and stability in Northeast Asia.”
Countries should not use “excuses to harm the security interests of other countries,” Hua added, describing the situation as “deeply concerning”.
China has racheted up military spending in recent years, putting in place new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles, which the U.S. sees as a counter to its military presence in the region.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said two Navy destroyers equipped with missile defense systems would be deployed to Japan by 2017 in response to provocations from North Korea.
Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan, Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in TOKYO; Editing by Clarence Fernandez