Despite repeated Chinese and Russian protests that such advanced weaponry would trigger an arms race in the Asia-Pacific region, the US began to deploy its anti-missile systems in South Korea.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, is a response to Pyongyang’s recent ballistic missile tests, South Korea and the US – and now Japan – say.

As one of the most advanced missile defense systems in the world, THAAD can intercept and destroy ballistic missiles inside or just outside the atmosphere during their final phase of flight.

Despite claims by Washington and Seoul that the missile shield would be focused solely on North Korea, Beijing says the US deployment would pose considerable threat to neighboring countries.

The deployment comes just as North Korea completed another round of ballistic missile tests by firing four rockets into the Sea of Japan in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The missile test also comes as Seoul and Washington launched their annual military drills on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang has said that the drills are designed as a means to invade North Korea.

China has repeatedly called for restraint in response to North Korea’s missile tests – strongly condemned by Beijing – and has called for a resumption of the six-party talks, which also include the two Koreas, Russia, Japan and the US.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies