Creation of a missile defense system for Europe may neutralize the deterrent of China's nuclear weapons much sooner than Russia's, a Defense Ministry official said on Thursday at a missile defense conference in Moscow.
"China's nuclear potential will be 'neutralized' much sooner than Russia's. China has a much more limited capability," said Sergei Koshelev, the head of the ministry's Military Cooperation Department.
According to the third Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty signed with the United States, Russia has the right to deploy 1,500 warheads and 800 missiles for them. China has a much smaller strategic arsenal.
China recognizes this fact, Koshelev said. "But clearly they have a different philosophy for guaranteeing national security, which ought to be commented on by the Chinese themselves," he said.
China has a major role to play in the creation of a missile defense system, he added.