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MOSCOW, March 7. /TASS/. The deployment of a US missile defense systems in South Korea to counter growing threats by North Korea may endanger Russia’s security, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Tuesday, noting that diplomatic efforts are needed to return North Korea to six-way talks on its nuclear program.
"In effect, Washington is creating a new regional segment of the US global missile defense system in North-Eastern Asia, close to the Russian border. This may put the security of our country at risk," the head of the State Duma’s (lower house) International Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, said.
"US moves to deploy the THAAD missile system in South Korea cause concern," Slutsky noted. "Washington states that these systems are intended only for deterring a missile threat from Pyongyang, whose leadership indeed makes unpredictable and dangerous moves towards carrying out new tests and launches," the MP resumed.
"However, the deployment of the US missile defense system in the region is clearly beyond the task of deterring ‘the North Korean threat’," he added.
According to the lawmaker, this move "undermines the strategic balance." "Russia, as well as South Korea, does not accept the self-proclaimed nuclear status of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea," Slutsky noted.
"And that is exactly why it supported all UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea. However, the only option to solve the nuclear problem of the Korean peninsula is to continue political-diplomatic efforts with an aim to get North Korea back to the six-party talks," he continued.
The US has begun the process to deploy a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to South Korea.
North Korea conducted another missile launch early on Monday, the second one this year. According to South Korea’s national defense ministry, North Korea fired four missiles at a range of about 1,000 kilometers in an easterly direction. Three missiles fell in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
A number of western countries, including the US, as well as NATO have condemned Pyongyang’s moves. Russia, for its part, called on all parties on the Korean Peninsula to show restraint to prevent any further escalation in tensions.
"Under the current conditions, we call on all parties concerned to show restraint and think over the negative impacts of any further escalation in tensions regarding security and stability in the region," the ministry said. "We see a way out of the current situation by building up efforts towards a political and diplomatic settlement of the entire spectrum of problems on the Korean Peninsula," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.