Chinese President Xi Jinping travels to Moscow today to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The issue on both leader’s minds is the American THAAD missile defense system deployed in South Korea, ostensibly to guard against a North Korean missile launch which could possibly carry a nuclear warhead bound for American allies in the Pacific or to the U.S. mainland itself.
U.S. missile defense has long bothered the Soviets and then the Russians. Barack Obama famously took down American missile defense in Eastern Europe to please the Kremlin. It did not work; now Poland and Romania share land-based sites to ward off an attack from the real Islamic State, Iran.
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“The U.S. deployment of an advanced anti-missile system in South Korea gravely harms the strategic security interests of China, Russia and other countries in the region,” China’s state Xinhua news agency cited Xi as saying, reported Reuters.
Russia and China are worried the highly-effective missile defense system can be used to also shoot down Chinese or Russian offensive missiles if launched and therefore weaken their nuclear deterrence.
“Beijing and Moscow are steadfastly opposed to the THAAD deployment and seriously suggest that relevant countries stop and cancel the installation,” Xinhua cited xi as saying. China and Russia would take “necessary measures”, either together or independently, to protect their interests, Xi said, again reported Reuters.