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Joint Missile Defense Drill Set for 2017
Beijing-Moscow exercise will not target third party, Chinese military official says
Edited by Li Nan 

China and Russia announced on October 11 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 con-firmed 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 United States 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 the morning of October 11 that the United States 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 United States, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Chang Wanquan told the forum on the morning of October 11 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 United States in the anti-missile field, and their cooperation could "narrow the respective gap with the United States".

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 United States 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.

(China Daily October 12, 2016)

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