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US Expands Missile Defenses nearby China

US Expands Missile Defenses nearby China 24.08.2012
Text: Lenta.ru
Photo: reuters.com
The US prepares considerable expansion of its missile defense capabilities in Asia-Pacific region, writes The Wall Street Journal.

According to this information, Pentagon wants to construct a chain of X-Band up-to-date missile defense radars stretching from northern Japan through its southern islands to Philippines. Those radars are to be interfaced with missile launchers and ships also equipped with radars and interceptors. Together, they are supposed to form an integrated system effectively intercepting ballistic missiles.

Speaking of the need for such system, American officials normally refer to a missile threat posed by North Korea. However, experts questioned by The Wall Street Journal say Pentagon pursues another strategic objective Ц deterrence of China.

Chinese mid-range ballistic missiles cause great concern of American military as they are capable to destroy US warships with pin-point accuracy at considerable distances. Currently, People's Liberation Army of China operates 1,000-1,200 missiles of this kind.

Missile early warning radars X-Band are expected to become the core of US missile defense in the region. One such radar has been operating in the north of Japan since 2006, another one is mounted on a ship registered in Pearl Harbor but deployed off Korean and Chinese coasts. The US negotiates on construction of the third X-Band radar on a southern Japanese island, presumably Okinawa. Besides, one more radar can be established in Philippines.

Such network will promptly and precisely track missiles launched at any point of Korean Peninsula and considerable part of China.

Military experts still argue whether such system would be capable to cope with massive launch of Chinese ballistic missiles. Most of them think that even prospective American capabilities would not be enough for that. Anyway, US missile defense would manage to intercept certain number of ballistic targets. Besides, it will be possible to modernize and expand such missile defense system to improve its capabilities.

So far, Beijing has not commented American plans on the Pacific-based missile defense. However, Chinese foreign ministry's official recently expressed hope that the US "will carefully handle this problem out of concern for maintaining the global and regional strategic balance and stability, and promoting the strategic mutual trust among all countries".

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