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BEIJING, March 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and China will coordinate their reactions to US plans to boost its missile defense in the Asia-Pacific region, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Tuesday.
The remarks follow Washington’s recent announcement this it has shelved plans for a European-based missile shield in favor of boosting its defenses in Alaska, which would give it coverage from a potential North Korean attack.
Beijing and Moscow oppose the deployment of missile shields, arguing that they undermine their own military strategies.
“The matter of missile defense has to do with global strategic balance, and China and Russia have similar views on it,” Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cheng Guoping said in Beijing.
“Russia and the People’s Republic of China have been cooperating on the matter for years, and we will only be strengthening collaboration in this direction,” he said.
US efforts to bolster its homeland missile defense follow threats by North Korea last week to attack the United States with its long-range missiles.
The US military intends to deploy 14 additional interceptors in Alaska by 2017 to counter the threat and install a radar station in Japan for early tracking of North Korean missiles.
Russian ambassador to China, Sergei Razov, also urged Moscow’s partners to “adjust their defense efforts to real challenges and threats” and said that no nation’s security effort should pose a threat to others.
Neither Cheng nor Razov elaborated on their countries’ possible reaction to US plans.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei earlier Monday said Washington’s adapted defense blueprint would “only intensify antagonism and not help to solve the problem.”
He also criticized “missile proliferation” in an apparent reference to North Korea’s December launch of a rocket to put a satellite into space that observers believe could serve as a precursor to Pyongyang developing the capability to launch long-range missiles.
Norther Korea carried out a nuclear test in February, prompting a new round of US-led international sanctions, which triggered the threats by North Korea to attack the United States.
Russia has for years vocally resisted US plans to deploy a missile shield in Eastern Europe, arguing that it would threaten the strategic parity between the two former Cold War foes.
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New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.