Russia and China Reach New Level of Military Cooperation. China’s Missile Early Warning System

The government of Japan intends to intensify negotiations with Russia to resolve the territorial issue and conclude a peace treaty. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe once again reminded about this in his keynote speech at the parliament opening session.

“By solving the territorial issue, we will conclude a peace treaty,” the Prime Minister stressed. “Relying on the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, we will advance the negotiations to a new level and open up huge opportunities in Japanese-Russian relations.”

Meanwhile, amid the stagnation of Russian-Japanese relations, we see another qualitative increase in Russian-Chinese ties, including the most sensible areas.

Russia is helping China create a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System. This was stated last week by Russian b during a discussion at the 16th annual meeting of the Valdai club.

“This is a very serious thing that will dramatically increase China’s defense capability because only the US and Russia have such a system now,” the President said.

As the media have found out, specialists of the Vympel interstate corporation developing missile and space defense systems, are working to design the Chinese national ballistic missile early warning system. This came from Vympel Director General Sergey Boyev.

Balance of forces

The Russian missile warning system like that of the United States, comprises satellites that monitor rocket launches using infrared sensors, as well as beyond-the-horizon radars that can track any activity in the air and space over the distance of several thousand kilometers. The third, and perhaps the key component of the system is computation centers able to rapidly process a huge amount of information appearing in case of a missile attack and present their findings to the military-political leadership in a very few minutes. And the latter will decide whether to strike back or ward off the attack by missile defense means.

Beijing officially declared an unconditional non-use of nuclear weapons apart from the need to strike back. However, until now, the PRC has never had a full-fledged missile warning system, which could entail China’s being caught flatfooted and result in a disarming blow of the enemy. On the contrary, the deployment of a missile warning system will seriously increase China’s ability for a backstroke or retaliatory strike, and this possibility forms the basis for mutual nuclear deterrence worked out in Soviet-American relations. Nuclear capabilities of China and the United States are equalized. Besides, the military potential of China and Russia on the one hand, and that of the United States and Japan on the other, are becoming increasingly comparable in the Far East as a whole.

Although it seems that cooperation between Moscow and Beijing in this area has been going on for some time, it is now that the Russian President has made it public. The main reason was obviously America’s withdrawal from the INF in August this year. At the same time, the US motivated its decision by the need to  deter China.

A significant part of the US nuclear triad is traditionally aimed at this already. Moreover, China is concerned about the advance of American long-range equipment with high-precision non-nuclear weapons, particularly sea-and air-based cruise missiles. On the other hand, retaliatory attacks by the Chinese missile warning systems may be countered by the strategic missile defense system in Alaska, California (GBI), and more recently in South Korea, as well as missile defense means onboard the warships of both the United States and Japan. Let’s not forget about the striking capabilities of the Aegis Ashore missile defense system Japan plans to deploy in its territory.

At the same time, a ballistic missile early warning system implies the creation of China’s own missile defense system; and while the Russian and Chinese militaries have already conducted two joint missile defense computer simulations, with the third one being prepared, the issue of cooperation in this area may also meet the interests of the two countries’ military and political leadership.

Why does Russia need this?

According to former deputy air defense commander of the Russian Ground Troops Alexander Luzan, Russia considers such cooperation important because in case of creating a single information space and data exchange, Chinese radars will add to better safety of our country from the East. He stressed that Vladivostok and Primorye are protected, while deeper areas are not. “We once tried to place our complexes in Mongolia, but it did not work out very well. Therefore, if the Chinese close this “tongue piece”, it will be very important for Russia,” the expert told the Russian media.

In general, the Kremlin has once again demonstrated its being persistently engaged in expanding the content of its strategic partnership with China, based, among other things, on military interdependence.


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Articles by: Andrei Ilyashenko

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