U.S. missile defense system THAAD
© AP Photo/ Choo Sang-chul/Newsis
U.S. missile defense system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, is seen at a golf course in Seongju, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017
The US THAAD missile defense systems in South Korea target Russia and China, Georgiy Borisenko, Director of the North America Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an exclusive interview with Sputnik.

According to Borisenko, Washington is merely using the alleged N Korean missile threatas a pretext for deploying THAAD systems close to the borders of Russia and China.

"But the fact is that these systems are absolutely incapable of preventing North Korea from retaliating in the event of aggression against it. The border on the Korean Peninsula passes so that Seoul is in the range of the long-range artillery of the neighboring state. THAAD systems are not capable of intercepting artillery shells. Therefore, they are simply not needed against N. Korea," the Russian diplomat said.

"So, we and our partners in China are well aware that THAAD is directed against Russia and China," Borisenko stressed.

Russia and China oppose the deployment of THAAD systems, saying that this could further worsen the situation around the Korean Peninsula.

In July 2016, Seoul and Washington agreed to deploy the THAAD system in the South Korean district of Seongju as an important step amid growing tension on the Korean peninsula due to the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

A number of other countries, including China and Russia, oppose the deployment of THAAD, due to security concerns.

This step has also met strong opposition from local residents in South Korea. Hundreds of residents in the northern province of Gyeongsang protested against the government's decision; the protests have led to clashes with the police.