A Chinese armored infantry carrier (top) and a Russian armored vehicle take part in the international army games “Caspian Derby” outside the town of Kaspiysk in southwestern Russia on August 5, 2015. ©AFP
Russian and Chinese missile defense commands have partaken in three-day-long “computerized” joint anti-missile drills.
The exercises, which started on Thursday and are to last until Saturday, enlisted staff members of the country’s respective missile defense command centers, Russia’s Sputnik news
The Russian Defense Ministry said the drills majorly sought “to train cooperation of Russian and Chinese air defense and anti-missile groups, aimed at protecting their territories from accidental or provocative strikes by ballistic and guided missiles.”
They are to be followed by a bilateral meeting where the countries’ military officials would address the potential of increased anti-missile cooperation.
Moscow and Beijing are both wary of the United States’ increased military activities in their backyards.
Recently, officials from the US and the Western military alliance of NATO declared a missile system based in southern Romania operational. The missiles’ activation marked the penultimate step in the completion of a so-called missile shield, which Washington proposed nearly a decade ago.
(L-R) US Admiral and Commander of the US Naval Forces Europe Mark E Ferguson, Romanian Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos and US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O Work attend the inauguration ceremony of the Aegis Ashore Romania facility at the Deveselu military base in Romania on May 12, 2016. ©AFP
The United States later broke ground on the final site in Poland on May 20. Upon completion in late 2018, the umbrella would be stretching from Greenland to the Azores region in western Portugal.
The US insists it is not aimed against Russia, but Moscow views it as a security threat on its doorstep.
Separately, Washington has been pursuing a widely-advertised shift to Asia
, dubbed pivot to Asia
strategy, since 2011. The White House argues that no region is more important to Washington’s long-term interests than Asia
. Some political observers, however, believe the US tries to use the strategy to impose its hegemony and thwart China
’s peaceful rise in Asia
Based on the strategy, the administration of US President Barack Obama has been seeking closer ties with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It has also been increasingly critical of China’s activities in the disputed islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea and, on occasions, dispatched warships on patrols close to the territories.