“China will not stand idly by and be forced to take countermeasures should the U.S. deploy intermediate-range ground-based missiles this part of the world,” Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Arms Control Department Director Fu Cong said as quoted by Associated Press.
Fu also urged South Korea, Japan and Australia to “exercise prudence” and do not allow the US to deploy ground-based, intermediate-range missiles on their territory which would “not serve the national security interests of these countries.”
The Chinese official’s statement was made after United States Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper said in interview en route to Sydney, Australia on August 2 that he prefers the deployment of ground-based, intermediate-range missiles in Asia within months.
Esper noted that China should not be surprised.
“They should be unsurprised, because we’ve been talking about this for some time now. And they have – I want to say that 80 percent-plus of their inventory is INF-range systems, so why would – that shouldn’t surprise them that we would want to have a light capability,” Esper said.
“What we want to do is deter conflict and compete with China and other countries in the economic realm, and diplomatically, if you will as well,” he said.