In an apparent rebuke to the United States for discussing the possibility of an anti-missile shield with South Korea, China and Russia have announced they will hold their first joint anti-missile drill.
“The Chinese and Russian foreign ministers last week urged Washington and Seoul to drop the proposed deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, following North Korea’s fourth nuclear bomb on Jan. 6 and subsequent missile tests,” Reuters reports.
According to Chinese media, the Chinese-Russian anti-missile drill will be held this month at a Russian military research center, with the goal of helping both military forces “familiarize themselves with their respective command structures and data transmission processes.”
Reuters notes that China has expressed anger over North Korea’s insistence on pursuing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles, but Beijing also “fears THAAD and its radar have a range that would extend into China.”
Russian state-controlled outlet RT.com says the drill will be “a computer-assisted simulation of a missile threat situation, which Chinese and Russian staff officers would have deal with jointly.”
While RT quotes the Chinese and Russian defense ministers insisting the drill is not “aimed against any third nation,” but was intended to display “greater unity and joint effort” against security challenges, the Russian news service seems to casually accept the China-Russia drill as a rebuke to the U.S. and South Korea over THAAD, just like every other observer.
“THAAD is a common threat to both China and Russia. This joint exercise will serve as a warning to the US and also mark the beginning of the two countries’ military cooperation following their diplomatic consensus,” retired Chinese colonel Yue Gang told the South China Morning Post.