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China demands US end military exercises in South Korea

CHINA has demanded that Seoul remove a US missile defence system after the US military moved missiles to a site in South Korea.

Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang condemned the deployment of the anti-ballistic missile system THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) saying it undermines the national security interests of China.

A US military trailer carrying elements of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system enters a golf course in Seongju, about 300 kilometres southeast of Seoul. Picture: AAP

“China strongly urges the United States and South Korea to stop actions that worsen regional tensions and harm China’s strategic security interests and cancel the deployment of the THAAD system and withdraw the equipment,” Mr Shuang said. “Cancel the deployment of THAAD. Otherwise China will decisively take necessary measures.”

South Korea and the US says the purpose of THAAD is to defend against North Korean missiles but China is concerned the system’s powerful radar could penetrate its territory and undermine its security.

A man holds a candle shaped banner during a rally to oppose a plan to deploy an advanced US missile defence system called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence, or THAAD, in Seoul, South Korea. Picture: AP

The United States began moving the first elements of the system to South Korea in March after the North tested four ballistic missiles.

BISHOP CALLS NORTH KOREA ‘PROVOCATIVE AND BELLIGERENT’

It came as Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop ramped up her condemnation of North Korea, saying it is “provocative and belligerent”.

Speaking on Wednesday in Tallinn, Estonia, Ms Bishop said North Korea has disregarded international law, violated UN Security Council resolutions on numerous occasions, and is “causing great tension in our region, that’s why Australia and others have called North Korea to change its behaviour”.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visits as US soldiers and a North Korean soldier, right, stand guard at the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea. Picture: AP

Amid rising tensions between North Korea and South Korea and the United States, Australia wants “to see a denuclearised Korean Peninsula”, she added.

The Turnbull government has said North Korea does not currently have nuclear weapons capable of reaching Australia.

However, some news reports say North Korea has identified the Australian city of Darwin as a target because US Marines are using it as a training hub.

Julie Bishop, with US Vice President Mike Pence, has been accused of toeing the US line by North Korea. Picture: AFP

The Australian government and Pyongyang have traded a series of insults over the past week.

On Saturday Pyongyang said Australia was “blindly and zealously toeing the US line” and accused Ms Bishop of “spouting a string of rubbish against the DPRK over its entirely just steps for self-defence” .

It was in response to earlier comments made by Ms Bishop which called for sanctions on the rogue state.