UPDATE: Stronger U.S. submarine grouping won't destabilize region


MOSCOW, September 6 (RIA Novosti) - Strengthening the U.S. Navy's Pacific nuclear submarine grouping would not destabilize the situation in the region, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told a news conference after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Cao Gangchuan Tuesday.

The minister said Russia obtained insufficient information on the issue from media reports and that he intends to meet with the U.S. Defense Secretary Donal Rumsfeld to discuss details.

"I do not believe that anyone intends to destabilize the situation," Ivanov said, adding that redeployment of armed forces is the sovereign right of any state.

"We also could redeploy our submarines from one theater to another," the minister said.

However, Russia's military doctrine envisages addressing any possible threat in any situation, he said.

Several media reports said the U.S. presumably intended to strengthen its Pacific nuclear submarine grouping along with reducing a number of nuclear submarines in the Atlantic. Experts believe the move means a drastic change in the U.S. ''cold-war-time'' deterrence policy, with its priorities having shifted from Russia to China.

Analysts said the strengthening of China's military power could raise tensions around the Taiwan Strait and contribute to the North Korean nuclear problem.

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