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U.S. Tightens Missile Shield Encirclement Of China And Russia

By       Message Rick Rozoff       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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So far this year the United States has succeeded in inflaming tensions with China and indefinitely holding up a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia through its relentless pursuit of global interceptor missile deployments.

On January 29 the White House confirmed the completion of a nearly $6.5 billion weapons transfer to Taiwan which includes 200 advanced Patriot anti-ballistic missiles. Earlier in the same month it was reported that Washington is also to provide Taiwan with eight frigates which Taipei intends to upgrade with the Aegis Combat System that includes the capacity for ship-based Standard Missile-3 interceptors.

The Aegis sea-based component of the expanding U.S. interceptor missile system already includes Japan, South Korea and Australia, and with Taiwan added China would be justified in being apprehensive.

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On February 28 the U.S. House and Senate foreign affairs committees permitted the "sale to Taiwan of missiles, helicopters and ships valued at about $6.4 billion" despite weeks of protests from China. "The U.S. Defense Department wants to sell Taiwan the most advanced Patriot anti-missile system....The system, valued at $2.8 billion, would add to Taiwan's network of 22 missile sites around the country...." [1]

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang recently stated "The responsibility for the current difficulties in China-U.S. relations [belongs] completely to the U.S. side" for failing to recognize and respect China's "core interests." [2]

If the proposed placement of U.S. missile shield components in Poland, the Czech Republic, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Alaska and elsewhere were explained by alleged missile threats emanating from Iran and North Korea, the transfer of U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles to Taiwan - and, as was revealed in January, 35 miles from Russian territory in Poland - represents the crossing of a new threshold. The Patriots in Taiwan and Poland and the land- and sea-based missiles that will follow them are intended not against putative "rogue states" but against two major nuclear powers, China and Russia.

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The PAC-3, "one of the most comprehensive upgrade programs ever undertaken on an American weapon system," [3] is in theory a strictly defensive anti-ballistic missile system, targeting cruise and tactical ballistic missiles. However, it has seven times the range of its PAC-2 predecessor and with plans for a yet further major upgrade, the Missile Segment Enhancement, its operational capability will be doubled again. With a future range of some 300 kilometers, the PAC-3 would be able to intercept and destroy missiles over Chinese and Russian territory.

The English-language government newspaper China Daily published an article on February 22 called "China circled by chain of US anti-missile systems," which observed that "Quite a few military experts have noted that Washington's latest proposed weapon deal with Taiwan is the key part of a US strategic encirclement of China in the East Asian region, and that the missiles could soon have a footprint that extends from Japan to the Republic of Korea and Taiwan." [4]

The article cites a Chinese air force colonel and military strategist as contending that "China is in a crescent-shaped ring of encirclement. The ring begins in Japan, stretches through nations in the South China Sea to India, and ends in Afghanistan. Washington's deployment of anti-missile systems around China's periphery forms a crescent-shaped encirclement."

Regular Pentagon military exercises in Mongolia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Cambodia as well as solidification of military ties with the nations of the Indian subcontinent - Pakistan, India and Bangladesh - are further cause for concern in Beijing.

The China Daily feature also quoted an expert in military affairs at the Institute of Political Science and Law as saying "The US anti-missile system in China's neighborhood is a replica of its [the U.S.'s] strategy in Eastern Europe against Russia. The Obama administration began to plan for such a system around China after its project in Eastern Europe got suspended."

In fact the current U.S. administration has by no means abandoned plans to surround Russia as well as China with a ring of interceptor missile installations and naval deployments.

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Last month's revelations that Washington is going to station land-based interceptors in Bulgaria and Romania were followed by a report that in addition to the Patriot missile batteries that will be set up in eastern Poland next month "The US is still looking to build missile silos in northern Poland" and, even more alarming, "The US is also interested in building longer-range missile silos near the Poland-Kaliningrad border. These would be capable of shooting down missiles from as far as 5,500 kilometers away...." [5]

The distance between the capitals of Poland and Iran is less than 4,000 kilometers, so American missiles with a range of 5,500 kilometers are designed for other purposes. They could take in a broad stretch of Russia.

The above-cited Chinese feature noted in addition that "the ring encircling China can also be expanded at any time in other directions....Washington is hoping to sell India and other Southeast Asian countries the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 missile defense system."

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/

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