The statement comes as Beijing warned of its retaliation against the US’ drive to deploy its intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region after Washington’s withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on 2 August.

The South Korean Defence Ministry has stated that it does not intend to deploy American intermediate-range missiles on its territory following a collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the US and Russia.

“We have also not internally reviewed the issue and have no plan to do so”, Ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo told a Seoul news briefing on Tuesday.

The statement comes as the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned earlier in the day that it would retaliate against the US continuing its plans to deploy its ground-based intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region.

“China will not stand idly by and will be forced to take countermeasures should the US deploy intermediate-range ground-based missiles in this part of the world,” spokesman Fu Cong underscored.

He urged China’s immediate neighbours “to exercise prudence and not to allow” the deployment of such missiles on their territory.

“That would not serve the national security interest of these countries,” Fu said, referring to South Korea, Japan and Australia.

Touching upon Washington’s recent exit from the INF Treaty, Fu claimed that the White House referring to any Russian violations was pure pretext” and that “the real purpose of the US withdrawal […] is to free its hand and to develop missile capabilities”.

Earlier, Australia’s Defence Minister Linda Reynolds ruled out the possibility that her country would provide a base for US mid-range missiles.

The remarks followed last week’s statement by US Defence Secretary Mark Esper that Washington may deploy its ground-based intermediate missiles “sooner rather than later” in the Asia-Pacific region after Washington’s withdrawal.

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