Ironic convergence in Asian missile defense

There is no clearer sign that tensions in East Asia are warming up than the news that the Russians are deploying a new reconnaissance ship to snoop on US missile defense in Hawaii and Alaska. This comes after the Russians simulated a bombing run on a US missile defense radar in Japan. The Russians vehemently oppose increased US missile defences around Asia, which could compromise Russian offensive missile capabilities. The short-term catalyst for more US missile defense is North Korea, of course. Kim Jong-Un can only threaten to leave Seoul – or Washington – in a “sea of fire” so many times before the US begins shoring up defenses – even if the stories of threats may be poorly translated into English. The longer-term catalyst for increased US missile defence is China, which is developing anti-ship missiles designed to keep the US Navy further from its shores. There is a great irony the latest deployments by the US. For years, China and Russia, especially, have been glad to look the other way on North Korea’s threats because they tied up the US in Asia. Now that North Korea has ramped up the rhetoric to new levels, the US has all the justification it needs to boost its presence in the region – something neither Russia nor China wants. And they say the Cold War ended.

China’s military power advances


China recently successfully conducted a mid-course missile interception, it said Sunday.

It didn’t say whether a missile or other object had been destroyed, according to Reuters, but the test was “defensive in nature and targets no other country.”

“Although no other detailed information about the test was released from the military authorities, weapon system experts said such a test could build shield for China’s air defences by intercepting incoming warheads such as ballistic missiles in space,” the report added. Xinhua said.

Recall that there had once been a ban on anti-ballistic missiles. The idea being that ABMs would upset the balance of mutually assured destruction that keep the US-USSR nuclear arsenals, and strategic intentions, in balance. Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, or so-called “Star Wars” plan to develop satellites that could shoot down ICBM’s upset the balance. 

The ABM treaty ban ended in 2002. In late 2012, the US and Australia agreed to consult a ballistic missile defense adapted to the unique threats of the region.

Or more precisely “consult as the United States develops the phased adaptive approach to ballistic missile defence, which will allow missile defence to be adapted to the threats unique to the Asia Pacific;”

It brings to mind North Korea of course. But the Chinese are wasting no time preparing their own missile shield.

In the area of power projection, the Chinese unveiled their heavy-lift transport Y-20.

From AFP The state-run Global Times hailed the flight of the plane numbered 20001 as a “significant milestone”, saying China needed the aircraft to “enhance its global power projection”.

(photo courtesy Pakistan Military) and the Pakistanis collaborate on aerospace with the Chinese