Will Russia and China Build an SCO-Based Joint Missile Defense System

On Monday, experts in Moscow and Beijing spoke via video conference on the implications for regional security of the US deployment of missile defense systems in South Korea. And while the forum focused mostly on political and military implications of the THAAD deployment, experts also intrigued observers by indicating that it was possible for Russia and China to join together to create a single missile defense shield over the entirety of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the political, economic and military organization involving much of eastern Eurasia.

Regarding the THAAD deployment, Moscow has repeatedly indicated that it was categorically opposed to the move. THAAD, capable of monitoring ballistic and aerial targets at distances of up to 1,500 km, is expected to give the US military the capability to ‘see’ into the territory of the Russian Federation, and even further into that of China.

Speaking at the video conference on Monday, Vladimir Petrovsky, a senior researcher at the Moscow-based Center for the Studies and Forecasting of Russia-China Relations at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, explained that the potential for a joint missile defense shield exists. Moreover, such a shield would be entirely appropriate given recent US moves, from its deployment of missile shield components in Eastern Europe to the deployment of THAAD in South Korea.

“Russia and China could become the driving force in the area of missile defense. Special attention should be paid to the land-based interception systems which we have at our disposal,” the analyst said.

Recently, the analyst recalled, Japan, South Korea and the United States conducted drills practicing the interception of ballistic missiles using the maritime-based US Aegis system. The appropriate response from Moscow and Beijing, according to Petrovsky, would be for the two countries’ air defense forces to conduct similar joint exercises at the Ashuluk range in Russia’s Astrakhan region.

Asked to comment on Petrovsky’s words, experts speaking to the independent online news and analysis hub Svobodnaya Pressa indicated that a joint missile defense system was entirely within the realm of possibility.

Full article: Will Russia and China Build an SCO-Based Joint Missile Defense System (Spacewar)

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