Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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China Calls for the Immediate US Missile Shield Suspension

S. Korea Begins Process To Deploy THAAD

(Photo : Getty Images) In this handout photo provided by U.S. Forces Korea, a truck is seen carrying parts required to set up the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system that had arrived at the Osan Air Base on March 6, 2017 in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

China demanded on Tuesday for the immediate suspension of a controversial United States missile shield a few hours after Washington announced that the defense system was now operation in South Korea.

"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," Geng Shuang, the foreign ministry's spokeperson, said. "We will firmly take necessary measures to uphold our interests."

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The US and South Korea have agreed to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery deployment last July amid the string of North Korean missile tests. However, the deployment was met by a strong opposition from China, which believes that the THAAD will weaken its own ballistic missile capabilities and risk regional security balance.

Russia has also previously voiced its support to China, saying that the THAAD deployment would not "create conditions conducive to resolving the nuclear issue as well as other issues on the Korean Peninsula."

Meanwhile, although the ministry lashed out the shield's deployment, it also expressed support on US President Donald Trump's comment that he would be "honored" to meet the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"China has always believed that dialogue and consultation... is the only realistic and viable way to achieve denuclearization," 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 continued.

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