China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has warned that Beijing "will not just stand idly by" if the United States deploys ground-based intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) to the Asia-Pacific region.
The MoFA's statement, which was made on 5 August, came in reaction to comments made by US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper three days earlier while en route to Sydney, Australia, as part of a tour of Asia-Pacific countries.
According to a transcript provided by the US Department of Defense (DoD), Esper said that he "would like to" deploy conventionally armed, ground-based IRBMs to Asia, preferably within "months", following the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia.
MoFA spokesperson Hua Chunying reacted by saying that if Washington insisted on deploying such weapons to the Asia-Pacific region, the international and regional security would "inevitably be severely undermined".
"China will not just sit idly by and watch our interests being compromised. What is more, we will not allow any country to stir up troubles at our doorstep. We will take all necessary measures to safeguard national security interests," said Hua.