USA and South Korea deploy 4 more Thaad launchers amid Pyongyang threats

US President Donald Trump criticized Moon this week for seeking "appeasement" with Pyongyang, while in August, Moon issued a forceful statement rebuking Trump's threats of "fire and fury" against North Korea, saying that any military actions on the Korean Peninsula must be made in consultation and with agreement from Seoul.

World powers are scrambling to respond to the latest advance in North Korea's rogue nuclear weapons programme, which has sent global tensions soaring.

Putin and Moon met on the sidelines of an economic forum in Vladivostok on Russia's Pacific coast.

Putin called on all North Korea's neighbors to show restraint, indicating the bellicose rhetoric and the military drills are only "playing into their hands".

"Given the new developments on the Korean peninsula, China agrees that the U.N. Security Council should make a further response and take necessary measures", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters on Thursday.

South Korea has pushed for moves to cut off Pyongyang's key supplies of fuel oil, but Russian Federation dismissed such a call, while China has also reluctant to take measures that could trigger instability or a refugee exodus on its frontier.

"At the same time, creating military atmosphere and raising hysteria is counterproductive and will lead nowhere", the Russian leader stressed.

Meanwhile, regarding a deal that Japan and South Korea reached in late 2015 over the comfort women issue, Abe said, "It's important to implement it steadily".

China objects to both the military drills and the deployment in South Korea of an advanced U.S. missile defence system that has a radar that can see deep into Chinese territory. By comparison, China exports roughly 500,000 tons of oil to North Korea each year, according to estimates by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Stability in Berkeley, Calif.

Geng called for South Korea and the United States to "immediately stop the deployment process" and remove the equipment or risk exacerbating tensions on the peninsula.

Earlier on Thursday, the final parts of the American Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile system arrived at a base in South Korea as hundreds of protesters thronged the area amid a huge police presence.

About 38 people were injured in the skirmish, including six police officers, though no serious injuries were reported. Two launchers have been operational at the site since May.

The four launchers were in addition to others that have already been installed in South Korea since March.

Washington and Seoul began deploying THAAD before a conservative South Korean government was ousted in March in a corruption scandal.

Moon temporarily halted the THAAD installation for environmental reviews to ease residents' concerns.

The launches may keep with the North's tradition of conducting missile tests on significant dates or holidays, according to a South Korean official from Seoul's Unification Ministry.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said his country expects its northern neighbor to test-fire the type of long-range missile created to deliver a nuclear warhead to far-off places such as the United States on Saturday, an important North Korean holiday.

  • Rogelio Becker