Pakistan may seek Russia - China joint early warning missile defence system in future?
MOSCOW - The early warning missile system that Moscow is currently helping Beijing set up will drastically boost China’s defence, securing it against any possible "strategic surprise" from the United States, experts say.
Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed these plans while speaking at the Valdai Discussion Club last week. Russia finished making a similar system, which covers its entire territory, back in 2017, Sputnik has reported.
Experts noted that the new Chinese system would ward off the risk of any unexpected first strike from the United States, albeit remarking that such an attack seemed purely theoretical.
"The system will first of all reduce the risk that China will suffer a ‘strategic surprise’ from the United States, for example a nuclear first strike out of the blue which would not permit China to launch its nuclear weapons in retaliation before they are destroyed (For other reasons, there was not a great chance that this could occur anyway, but it does reduce it)," Miles Pomper, a senior fellow at the Washington DC office of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Middlebury Institute, said.
The system, he said, also "opens the door to the deployment of Chinese ballistic missile defence and integrated anti-satellite capabilities."
Nikolai Sokov of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Nonproliferation, in turn, noted that the early warning system was "particularly important for China, whose arsenal is small compared to the US and which can lose its weapons if it were forced to ride out an attack."
"With robust early warning systems, it will be able to launch them before incoming warheads reach targets," he explained.
In addition, the new system will also likely enhance China’s conventional deterrence link .
"If – as appears possible – that capability includes warning about attacks of cruise missiles, this would be even more important for China, which is seriously concerned about US conventional strike capability. Cruise missiles are the main tool for conventional attacks ... and thus ability to detect them with sufficient warning would strengthen not only China’s nuclear deterrence but also conventional deterrence," Sokov concluded.