Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the United States
to provide some robust guarantees on a possible deployment of an advanced missile defense system in South Korea.
Lavrov said Friday that Moscow needed legal guarantees from the US
that the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) would not be directed at Russia
Lavrov made the remarks after Russian President Vladimir Putin held an informal meeting with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the resort town of Sochi.
Russia had previously warned that Washington’s deployment of the system could spark an arms race in the Northeast Asia
South Korean officials announced in early February that they would begin formal talks on the deployment of the THAAD system in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, which triggered global condemnation.
Russia has for long accused the US of benefiting from North Korea’s nuclear tests to expand its controversial global missile defense system in what Lavrov had described as “overreaction”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said after the announcement that the deployment could also complicate the resolution of the Korean peninsula nuclear issue and would leave destructive impacts on international security and stability.
China, a major rival of South Korea and Japan, has also expressed concerns, with a statement in March saying that positioning the system in South Korea would directly harm the security interests of China and Russia.
Washington has responded by saying that talks with South Korea about a possible THAAD deployment are in early stages, and that the initiative has been caused by North Korea’s provocative behavior.