China, Russia Set to Hold Joint Anti-Missile Drill

A view of an RGM-84 surface-to-surface Harpoon missile, immediately after leaving a canister launcher aboard the cruiser USS LEAHY (CG-16), near the Pacific Missile Test Center, Calif.

Upon a discussion between the United States and South Korea on an anti-missile defense system for South Korea to ward off threats coming from the North, China decided to follow suit, opting to hold a joint computer-assisted anti-missile drill with Russia. This will be the first of its kind between the two power-nations, state-run media reported Thursday.

The deadly conflict between North and South Korea which lasted from 1950-1953 ended in a truce, and not a treaty, therefore the two countries have technically been at war for the past 63 years. North Korea has certainly kept up that mentality, regularly making threatening claims to destroy the South and the U.S.

Last week, the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers adamantly urged Washington and Seoul to cease their proposed deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The THAAD system is a U.S. Army anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to use a ‘hit-to-kill’ approach to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles.

The foreign ministers appealed to the U.S. and South Korea to drop the plan following North Korea’s fourth nuclear bomb on January 6 and subsequent missile tests.

These tests violate U.N. resolutions against North Korea backed by Russia and China, Reuters reports.

North Korea begins its Workers’ Party congress Friday, and the U.S. and the South have expressed deep concern that the North will try to run a fifth nuclear test in a “show of strength” against its enemies.

Little is known about the planned China-Russia drill except for what an official English-language China Daily newspaper has made public. The paper did reveal, citing China’s defense ministry, that the drill will be held this month at a Russian military research center. The paper also offered that experts say the anti-missile drill “would help the two countries’ militaries familiarize themselves with their respective command structures and data transmission processes,” according to Reuters.

Although the U.S. says it is still in talks with South Korea regarding the THAAD system and insists that the close allies would not create danger for other countries if installed, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has stated that this system threatens equilibrium on the Korean Peninsula as well as damages China’s and Russia’s strategic security.

North Korea’s unending quest to create working nuclear weapons has instilled anger in China, for China is the sole major diplomatic and economic supporter of North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang.

However, the Chinese government also fears that the U.S.-South Korea THAAD system and its radar have a range that extends into China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared that his country “would not allow war and chaos to break out on the Korean peninsula.”