A THAAD missile is launched during a test, in this undated handout photo provided by the US Department of Defense. (Photo by Reuters)

A top Chinese newspaper has cautioned Washington and Seoul against the planned deployment of an advanced US missile system to the Korean Peninsula, saying the pair will face a “counter attack” for their controversial move.
In a commentary published on Saturday, The People’s daily that belongs to China’s ruling Communist Party emphasized that the country's opposition to the presence of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in the South Korean territory would never change as Beijing regards the system as a serious threat to the regional security balance.
"If the United States and South Korea harm the strategic security interests of countries in the region including China, then they are destined to pay the price for this and receive a proper counter attack," the paper said.
Washington and Seoul have to wake up to the fact that the Korean Peninsula is no place to take risks, the paper noted, adding, "Like any other country, China can neither be vague nor indifferent on security matters that affect its core interests.”
Back in July, the US and South Korea said they had made a final decision to deploy the THAAD missile system in the South, claiming it will only be used in defense against what they called North Korean threats.
The agreement sparked opposition both in South Korea as well as outside the country. South Korean citizens have held protests in condemnation of the deployment.

Protesters shout slogans during a rally to oppose the THAAD deployment in front of the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, September 30, 2016. (Photo by AP)

The decision came after Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, which was followed by a satellite launch and a string of test-launches of various missiles.
Last month, North Korea also conducted its fifth and biggest nuclear test and said it had mastered the ability to fit a miniaturized warhead on a rocket.
On Friday, an unnamed South Korean Defense Ministry official said the missile system will be stationed on the golf course of Lotte Skyhill Seongju Country Club in Seongju County.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, however, urged Washington to cancel the imminent deployment, stressing that militarization of the Korean Peninsula could “seriously harm the strategic interests of China.”
THAAD has been designed to intercept ballistic missiles inside or just outside the atmosphere during their final phase of flight.

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