Russia is working with China to counter US plans to expand its missile-defense network, which they see as targeting their military assets.
The upgrade aims to give Washington the ability to launch a nuclear strike “with impunity”. Lt. Gen. Poznikhir of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff told a security forum in Xiangshan, China, according to a transcript of his speech cited by Bloomberg.
The Asian neighbors this year conducted a joint missile defense exercise of their computer command staff, he said.
“We are working together on ways to minimize possible damage to the security of our countries,” Poznikhir said.
“The illusion of invulnerability and impunity under the guise of missile defense will encourage Washington to make unilateral steps in dealing with global and regional issues. This could lead to a decrease in the threshold for using nuclear weapons to preempt enemy actions.”
Russia’s concern about US nuclear capabilities highlights a deepening rift between the Cold War foes as they trade accusations over the war in Syria.
While NATO members have stressed that the alliance’s global missile shield will be a defense solely against potential attacks from so-called “rogue states,” particularly Iran and North Korea, Russia and China have been voicing concerns over their own security.
In May, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that placing parts of the system in Romania and Poland — once Soviet satellites — is threatening peace in Europe and warned that it may trigger a new arms race.
China described the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system as an “out-and-out strategic” move that threatens its national security, warning about taking “necessary measures to safeguard” its interests.
The plan has already soured Chinese ties with South Korea.
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