China and Russia to hold anti-missile drill after U.S., S.Korea talk defence

By Reuters/Michael Martina   May 4, 2016 | 11:03 pm PT
China and Russia to hold anti-missile drill after U.S., S.Korea talk defence
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. : REUTERS/U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout via Reuters
China and Russia will hold their first joint computer-assisted anti-missile drill, state media said on Thursday, after the United States and South Korea discussed an anti-missile defence system for the South to counter threats from North Korea.

North and South Korea remain technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, rather than a treaty. The North routinely threatens to destroy South Korea and the United States.

The Chinese and Russian foreign ministers last week urged Washington and Seoul to drop the proposed deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, following North Korea's fourth nuclear bomb on Jan. 6 and subsequent missile tests.

The tests violate U.N. resolutions against North Korea backed by Russia and China. U.S. and South Korean officials have expressed concern that the North could attempt a fifth nuclear test in a show of strength ahead of its Workers' Party congress, which begins on Friday.

The China-Russia drill will be held this month at a Russian military research centre, the official English-language China Daily newspaper said, citing China's defence ministry.

The paper gave few details, but cited experts saying the drill would help the two countries' militaries familiarise themselves with their respective command structures and data transmission processes.

The White House has said it is still in talks with its close ally, South Korea, on the THAAD system and that it would not threaten other countries if installed.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said the system threatens equilibrium on the Korean peninsula and damages China's and Russia's strategic security.

North Korea's drive to develop a nuclear weapons capability has angered China, Pyongyang's sole major diplomatic and economic supporter. But Beijing fears THAAD and its radar have a range that would extend into China.

President Xi Jinping has said Beijing would not allow war and chaos to break out on the Korean peninsula. 

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