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China could strengthen its nuclear capability in response to U.S. global missile defense plans, a Russian military expert said on Wednesday.
"At present, China has a very limited nuclear potential, but my recent contacts with Chinese military representatives indicate that if the United States deploys a global missile defense system, in particular in the Far East, China will build up its offensive capability," said Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Buzhinsky, former department deputy head in the Russian Defense Ministry.
He did not elaborate on how a potential missile shield could be countered with nuclear weapons or why it would threaten China.
So far Washington has been mostly preoccupied with a missile shield in Central Europe and says it is needed to counter potential Iranian strikes.
In a move to ease Moscow's concerns, Obama last year scrapped plans to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic.
Earlier this month, however, Romania and Bulgaria said they were in talks with Obama's administration to deploy elements of the U.S. missile shield on their territories from 2015.
MOSCOW, February 24 (RIA Novosti)
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