US

US seeks to ease Chinese anger over missile defense plans

  • Vice Admiral James D. Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, speaks to the media at the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. Syring on Thursday said an advanced U.S. missile defense system that is to be deployed in South Korea only targets North Korea, not China. (Yonhap via AP)

    Vice Admiral James D. Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, speaks to the media at the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. Syring on Thursday said an advanced U.S. missile defense system that is to be deployed in South Korea only targets North Korea, not China. (Yonhap via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Korean protesters stage a rally opposing a plan to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system in the country called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, in front of the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. James Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, arrived on Thursday to meet with South Korean officials on the deployment of THAAD. The need for and safety of THAAD are still being debated in South Korea after the government decided in early July to install it as a defensive measure against threats from North Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

    South Korean protesters stage a rally opposing a plan to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system in the country called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, in front of the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. James Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, arrived on Thursday to meet with South Korean officials on the deployment of THAAD. The need for and safety of THAAD are still being debated in South Korea after the government decided in early July to install it as a defensive measure against threats from North Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)  (The Associated Press)

A senior U.S. military official says an advanced U.S. missile defense system that is to be deployed in South Korea only targets North Korea, not China.

Vice Adm. James D. Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system will never be used against China.

Yonhap news agency quoted him as saying Thursday that "We don't defend against China as a threat."

China has grown increasingly angry over the plan to deploy the missile system, which critics say is capable of tracking missiles inside China.

Chinese state media have published daily attacks against the U.S. and South Korea, and China has reportedly canceled events involving South Korean entertainers.

Syring spoke in a group interview with South Korean media, including Yonhap.