Joint mis­sile de­fense drill set for 2017

Beijing-Moscow ex­er­cise will not tar­get third party, Chi­nese mil­i­tary of­fi­cial says

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI and WANG QINGYUN in Beijing

China and Rus­sia an­nounced on Tues­day that they will con­duct an anti-mis­sile joint ex­er­cise next year as the United States plans to de­ploy a mis­sile de­fense sys­tem near them.

The drill, which will be the sec­ond of its kind, was con­firmed at a China-Rus­sia joint news brief­ing on mis­sile de­fense on the side­lines of the sev­enth Xiang­shan Fo­rum, a high-end de­fense af­fairs di­a­logue, in Beijing.

The US and the Repub­lic of Korea have in­fu­ri­ated Beijing and Moscow by ad­vanc­ing their joint plan to de­ploy in the ROK the Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fense sys­tem, a mis­sile-de­fense sys­tem whose radar, with a ra­dius of 2,000 kilo­me­ters, could cover parts of China and Rus­sia.

Ma­jor Gen­eral Cai Jun, with the Joint Staff Depart­ment of China’s Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, de­scribed the plan to de­ploy the anti-mis­sile sys­tem as “dam­ag­ing to global strate­gic bal­ance and re­gional se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity”.

Cai noted that the two mil­i­taries held their first joint com­puter-sim­u­lated anti-mis­sile drill in May in Moscow with the aim of “train­ing the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of both sides in joint air-de­fense and an­timis­sile ac­tions”.

Cai did not elab­o­rate on the po­ten­tial for­mat or con­tents of the sec­ond joint drill and said the ex­er­cise “will not tar­get any third party”.

Rus­sian Deputy De­fense Min­is­ter Ana­toly Antonov told the fo­rum on Tues­day morn­ing that the US is us­ing the ten­sion on the Korean Penin­sula to de­ploy ex­ces­sive weapons, and said the THAAD de­ploy­ment is “not just a re­gional is­sue”, as it will in­crease ten­sion.

Ji Zhiye, pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said an anti-mis­sile drill “is not nec­es­sar­ily tar­get­ing a spe­cific coun­try or di­rec­tion, but it is a fact that there are just sev­eral coun­tries that could threaten China and Rus­sia with mis­siles”.

The THAAD de­ploy­ment will “deal a blow to global strate­gic bal­ance”, and both Beijing and Moscow should “make clear their neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes to­ward THAAD” by hold­ing their sec­ond drill next year, Ji said.

With­out di­rectly nam­ing the US, State Coun­cilor and Min­is­ter of Na­tional De­fense Chang Wan­quan told the fo­rum on Tues­day morn­ing that “a stand-alone coun­try or a few seek ab­so­lute ad­van­tage in the mil­i­tary do­main and con­sis­tently re­in­force mil­i­tary al­liances”.

Jin Can­rong, a pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at Ren­min Univer­sity of China, said China and Rus­sia lag be­hind the US in the an­timis­sile field, and their co­op­er­a­tion could “nar­row the re­spec­tive gap with the US”.

Luo Yuan, a se­nior re­searcher at the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army’s Academy of Mil­i­tary Science, said both coun­tries have a long his­tory of anti-mis­sile co­op­er­a­tion, and with the threat of THAAD, “nei­ther side should sit idly”.

The two coun­tries share great re­serves of tech­nol­ogy and vi­able op­tions for con­tain­ing THAAD, in­clud­ing tech­no­log­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion and even joint ex­er­cises, to “avoid the worst sce­nario”, Luo said.

New Zealand De­fense Min­is­ter Gerry Brown­lee noted that the US has at­trib­uted its plan to de­ploy THAAD to the nu­clear pro­gram of the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea.

“But I do think it sim­ply in­di­cates the need for greater di­a­logue by all coun­tries” that have an in­ter­est in the Korean Penin­sula nu­clear is­sue, Brown­lee said.

FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

Fu Ying (right), for­eign af­fairs chief of China's top leg­is­la­ture, talks with Guan Youfei, in charge of in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion, on Tues­day at the Xiang­shan Fo­rum.

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