China called Tuesday for the immediate suspension of a controversial missile defence system hours after Washington confirmed the shield was now operational in South Korea.

THAAD interceptor test. Photo: Wikimedia.

“China’s position is clear-cut and firm. We oppose the deployment of the THAAD system in (South Korea) and urge relevant sides to immediately stop the deployment. We will firmly take necessary measures to uphold our interests,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.

Washington and Seoul had agreed to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery deployment in July in the wake of a string of North Korean missile tests.

At the briefing, Geng also expressed support for US President Donald Trump’s comments that he would consider meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Trump said Monday he would be “honored” to meet Kim under the right conditions, dialling down earlier threats of military action.

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. Photo: Wikicommons.

“China has always believed that dialogue and consultation… is the only realistic and viable way to achieve denuclearisation,” Geng said.

“We also said many times that the US and DPRK… should make political decisions at an early date, take action and show good faith so that we can create a better atmosphere for resuming the peace talks and settling the issue,” he added.

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