China plans high-tech anti-missile drill with Russia
China and Russia will hold their first joint computerassisted anti- missile drill this month, a move analysts believe will help counteract the increasing deployment of American weapons on their doorsteps.
The Ministry of National Defense and the Russian Defense Ministry announced late on Tuesday that the drill will be held later this month at a Russian defense force research center.
Although both ministries said the drill “does not target any third party”, observers said the two countries are faced with imminent challenges posed by the US plan to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile-interceptor system in South Korea.
For their part, Beijing and Moscow have responded
strongly against deploying the system. TheX-band radar associated with THAAD can locate missiles 2,000 kilometers away, a range that includes parts of China and Russia and fully covers northeast China.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday that Washington has been talking with Seoul “for several weeks” about deploying THAAD.
In March, Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned aftermeeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov that the deployment “will break the strategic balance of the region and spark an arms race”.
WuEnyuan, formerdirector of the Institute of Russian, Eastern EuropeanandCentral Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said “the drill marks strategic cooperation entering a new phase of greater maturity”.
Wu said Beijing and Moscow have a shared duty in stabilizing theKorean Peninsula.
“The drill later this month should not necessarily be targeted at a certain country ... because anti-missile cooperation is a component of longterm bilateral military cooperation,” Wu said.
Li Jie, a senior expert at the Naval Military Studies Research Institute of the People’s Liberation Army, said the drill — involving data transmission and command structures— will help the militaries familiarize themselves with their different systems.
“The drill not only shows political and moral support for each other, but also introduces joint anti-missile efforts that will effectively fend off threats by enemies on their doorsteps,” Li said.
Major General Luo Yuan, a researcher at the Chinese People’s LiberationArmyMilitary Science Academy, said the US is “building an encirclement of anti-missile systems around China, and the only missing link is the Korean Peninsula”.
As China-Russia anti-missile cooperation is at its initial stage, they could learn from the strengths of each other to address their own weak links, Luo said, referring to the Russian S-400 system and China’s own anti-missile system.
The drill marks strategic cooperation entering a new phase of greater maturity.”