China, Russia slam THAAD in unison

By Bai Tiantian and Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/12 0:48:39

US move ‘disrupts global strategic balance’

In a rare coordinated effort, China and Russia on Tuesday jointly condemned the deployment of a US anti-missile system in South Korea, calling it a "disrupting" force to the global strategic balance and regional security.

South Korean Won Buddhism monks - a new Buddhism sect - pray during a rally to oppose a plan to deploy an advanced US missile defense system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, in Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday. A private golf course in the country's southeast region was chosen as the new site for THAAD to be deployed by the end of next year to help cope with North Korean threats. Photo: AP

Analysts said the move, which came two weeks after a new location for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system was announced, is a tacit cooperation between China and Russia, as the two countries edge closer to each other under Western pressure.

The press conference, which took place on the sidelines of the Seventh Xiangshan Forum in Beijing on Tuesday, was jointly hosted by Cai Jun, deputy director of the combat division of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission, and Victor Poznihir, Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of Russia's Defense Ministry.

Cai said the blind deployment of the US' anti-missile system may lead to a heightened arms race, or even expand its scope to include outer space.

He called the US' unilateral deployment of the multilateral anti-missile system "non-constructive behavior" that will dampen the global security environment, disrupt the global strategic balance and regional security, and hinder the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation process.

"The US and South Korean decision to deploy THAAD is not conducive to resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula or to its peace and stability. It severely damages the national security interests of China and Russia. China firmly opposes it and strongly urges the US and South Korea to reconsider their options," Cai said.

Cai also announced on Tuesday that China and Russia will hold their second anti-missile drills next year.

The first China-Russia anti-missile drill was held in May, based on computer simulations. Cai said the May drill upgrades bilateral defense cooperation, indicating both countries' determination to protect regional security and stability.

Feng Shaolei, a professor at the School of Advanced International and Area Studies of East China Normal University, told the Global Times that the joint press conference of China and Russia was "unforeseen."

"Both countries have expressed a similar stance on the anti-missile system. The joint press conference showed that China and Russia have developed trust to the point that both are able to cooperate with each other on major strategic issues," Feng said.

"Both China and Russia are paying close attention to developments in the THAAD deployment. They must give a very clear and prompt response to the US move. Meanwhile, the Xiangshan Forum provides a platform for the two nations to jointly voice their stance at a multilateral event," Feng noted.

THAAD advantage

Poznihir also called the US anti-missile system in Europe and the Asia-Pacific an act to "contain Russian and Chinese strategic nuclear prowess" while strengthening US hegemony. He expressed doubts over the necessity to deploy THAAD in South Korea, which the US claims is needed to protect Seoul from Pyongyang's missiles.

Poznihir said the anti-missile system aims to completely eliminate China's nuclear deterrence capabilities and restrict Russia's nuclear capabilities. He said the system enables the US to covertly deploy powerful weapons that may be used to conduct decapitation strikes on both countries, and that it would boost the US' ability to attack Chinese and Russian satellites.

"The US anti-missile system is offensive in nature, which aims to give the US absolute advantage against potential adversaries around the world," said Poznihir, adding that Russia has constantly demanded that the US make fact-based and law-abiding promises to not target Russia's strategic nuclear capabilities with its anti-missile system in Europe.

Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission, and Anatoly Antonov, Russian Deputy Defense Minister, also attended the press conference.

Antonov spoke Tuesday at the Xiangshan Forum, detailing Russia's involvement in Syria.

The US broke off talks with Russia on October 3 on implementing a cease-fire agreement in Syria and accused Moscow of not living up to its commitments under a deal to halt fighting, and ensure that aid reaches besieged communities, Reuters reported.

Antonov claimed that Russia's willingness to cooperate with the US has fallen on deaf ears. "We believe that there is no military solution for the Syrian crisis. We must give up political ambitions and return to the negotiating table. Without Russia, the Syrian crisis cannot be resolved and the terrorists cannot be defeated."

Posted in: Diplomacy, Asia-Pacific

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