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New US-Russia nuclear arms race looms

China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-04 07:31

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, watches President Donald Trump, right, walk past him as they gather for the group photo at the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Leaders from the Group of 20 industrialized nations are meeting in Buenos Aires for two days starting today. [Photo/Agencies]

ON SATURDAY, Russia released an official video that shows Russian Aerospace Forces testing an upgraded version of its antimissile system. Beijing News comments:

According to Russian media reports, the missile is an upgraded version of the 53T6 short-range nuclear anti-ballistic missile, which was a main ingredient of the Soviet Union's A-135 antimissile system.

In the past few years, Russia has gradually restored the interception capabilities of A-135 system and developed the third-generation strategic antimissile system A-235. At the same time, Russia is integrating antimissile and air defense systems, accelerating the deployment of the S-400 air defense system, and developing a new generation S-500 system. The goal is to form a "high and low" antimissile defense system.

The purpose of these measures is to respond to the United States' attempts to break the existing strategic balance. Since the beginning of the new century, the US has attempted to seek unilateral strategic advantages by tearing up existing treaties and developing new types of armaments.

Concerning ballistic missile defense, the US withdrew from the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems in 2001 and started installing Theater Missile Defense and National Missile Defense systems in its own territories, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. Concerning offensive strategic weapons, US President Donald Trump has stressed strengthening the US' nuclear arsenal. A few months ago, the US government even claimed it would exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, with the purpose of installing large numbers of intermediate-range and short-range missiles in Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

Under such pressure, as the only country with nuclear power comparable to that of the US, Russia must maintain a strategic balance with the US in order to maintain its status and influence as a major power. Russian President Vladimir Putin had vowed to continue strengthening the nation's armed forces as early as the beginning of his new term, with a priority being a strategic nuclear shield. For that purpose, Russia has been developing new antimissile systems and updating its strategic nuclear arsenal.

Obviously, the US-Russian competition over strategic stability is getting increasingly fiercer, which will in turn exert greater pressure upon the whole world. In the future, we might have to live in a world where the US and Russia are in a new round of nuclear competition.

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