Beijing warns of 'countermeasures' over U.S missile plans

China warned on Tuesday it would take unspecified countermeasures if the United States goes ahead with plans to deploy ground-based intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region.

The comments come days after U.S Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Washington was now free to deploy the weapons following its withdrawal last week from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia.

"China will not stand idly by and will be forced to take countermeasures should the U.S deploy intermediate-range ground-based missiles in this part of the world," said Fu Cong, the director of arms control at the Chinese foreign ministry.

"And we also call on our neighbours, our neighbouring countries, to exercise prudence and not to allow a U.S deployment of its intermediate-range missiles on (their) territory," he added, naming Australia, Japan and South Korea.

"That would not serve the national security interest of these countries."

Fu said it was important to recognise that the U.S is proposing to install the weapons at China's "doorstep".