02:21 GMT +321 August 2019
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    US-Japanese Missile Test Could Prompt China to Upgrade its Nuclear Arsenal

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    Last week, the United States and Japan successfully tested the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile defense system. An interceptor was launched from the USS John Paul Jones missile destroyer and took out a medium-range target ballistic missile. The test took place off the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

    The test came as a new reminder for Russia and China that they should not stop modernizing their strategic arsenals, taking into account the advanced capabilities of the US missile defense shield, Russian military expert Vasily Kashin said.

    According to information from the US military, unlike the previous versions of the SM-3 missile, the SM-3 Block IIA is capable of intercepting not only middle-range missiles but also intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

    Russia began developing anti-missile defense measures in advance. Russia’s main advantages are a rich and advanced arsenal of nuclear weapons delivery, an immense territory and geographical proximity to the US. Due to these factors, missile defenses of the US and its Asian allies cannot intercept Russian missiles at launch. As for the European missile shield, it covers only a small part of the Russian strategic arsenal.

    In turn, China is in a more complicated situation, taking into account the capacity of its nuclear arsenal. The majority of China’s missiles are middle-range and vulnerable to missile defenses.

    In the light of the ongoing expansion of the US’ missile defense, China’s intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal may be insufficient to guarantee a retaliatory strike.

    "Beijing should also take into account the upcoming deployment of US THAAD missile systems to South Korea and Japan," Kashin commented to Sputnik Chinese.

    The expert also noted that taking into the account the scope of US and Japanese missile defense efforts, it is "ridiculous" to justify the initiative with possible threats from South Korea or Iran.

    "Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons and is unlikely to develop an ICBM in the foreseeable future. As for North Korea, due to the lack of resources and technologies, it has a small arsenal of faulty ballistic missiles," Kashin pointed out.

    The main goal of the US’ missile defense deployment plan is to gain an advantage over Russia and, what is more important, to gain the upper hand over China’s nuclear arsenal.

    "Washington believes that this would force Beijing abandon its hardline foreign policy strategy aimed at protecting national interests. However, such an assumption is based on underestimating China’s capabilities to expand its nuclear arsenal," the expert pointed out.

    Meanwhile, in recent years, China has put much effort to increasing capacities of its missile-manufacturing industry. Reserves of the space industry could now also be recruited to boost production of strategic missiles. It is also noteworthy that during the final stage of the Cold War China conducted certain research and development works in the field but then abandoned them due to political reasons.

    "Deployment of DF-41 missiles and tests of the DF-5C carrying 10 warheads prove that China is capable of rapidly modernizing its offensive potential. Possibly, its will expand even faster than US missile defense aimed at deterring China. In this case, none of the sides will get the upper hand, but global security will be damaged," Kashin concluded.


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    ICBM, nuclear arsenal, missile defense, China, Japan, Russia, United States
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