China ‘won’t stand idly by’ if US puts missiles in Asia-Pacific region

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China said Tuesday that it “will not stand idly by” if the U.S. follows through with an announced plan to place intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region, The Associated Press reports. 

The news service reports that the director of the foreign ministry’s arms control department, Fu Cong, said China is concerned about the plans to develop and test a land-based intermediate missile range in the region “sooner rather than later.”

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Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperChina ‘won’t stand idly by’ if US puts missiles in Asia-Pacific region Esper: US won’t ‘overreact’ to North Korean missile launches Pentagon chief: US would prevent ‘unacceptable’ Turkish invasion of Syria MORE announced the plan last week, one day after the U.S. pulled out of a Cold War-era arms control pact. Esper said he didn’t have the latest “state of play on timelines,” but would “prefer months.” 

Esper said it would be “important” to have missiles in the Asia-Pacific region, but did not speculate on where they might be placed. 

“China will not stand idly by and be forced to take countermeasures should the U.S. deploy intermediate-range ground-based missiles this part of the world,” Fu told reporters at a briefing Tuesday, according to the AP. 

Fu reportedly advised other nations, including South Korea, Japan and Australia, to not allow the U.S. to deploy such weapons in their territory.