• Asia-Pacific

China, Russia could Counter U.S. Missile Deployment to Asia by Targeting Japan, other Allies

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
In this photo taken from a video distributed by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Dec. 22, a Chinese H-6K strategic bomber flies during a joint patrol mission with Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.

BEIJING — China and Russia have agreed to take countermeasures that may include aiming missiles at Japan or other U.S. allies in Asia in the event that the United States deploys missiles to those nations, according to sources familiar with China-Russia relations.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has long been considering deploying missiles to Asia as part of its efforts to pressure nations such as China and Russia. Tensions in the region are feared to intensify if U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s administration follows through with the Trump administration’s missile deployment plan.

Beijing and Moscow agreed at a high-level government meeting to take military countermeasures if the United States deployed medium-range missiles to Japan or other U.S. allies in Asia.

“There was a discussion on proceeding with the deployment of missiles aimed at the nations where missiles will be deployed,” one of the sources said.

The matter was discussed during a consultation on China-Russia strategic stability held in Beijing in late November last year with the attendance of Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

China’s Foreign Ministry had announced that during the meeting Beijing and Moscow “reached broad consensus on issues such as the international security situation, multilateral arms control and disarmament, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.”

The INF Treaty was signed by the Soviet Union and the United States, but Washington withdrew from the treaty last year. The United States then announced that it would consider deploying intermediate-range missiles to Asia, which was strongly opposed by China and Russia.

Although Biden has not made it clear whether he would continue with the deployment plan, China and Russia have been taking actions to keep the incoming Biden administration in check, such as by holding joint aerial patrols over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea on Dec. 22.

Military experts believe that if the United States focused its missile deployment on Japan, Russia will deploy medium-range missiles to the Russian Far East and other such areas. China, which would have part of its country within range of Russian missiles, might also accept this.