Putin OKs Advanced Antimissile Sale to China: Report

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
April 11, 2014, 7:25 a.m.

Rus­sia has ap­proved the sale to China of an ad­vanced an­ti­mis­sile sys­tem that could have rami­fic­a­tions on nuc­le­ar sta­bil­ity with In­dia, ac­cord­ing to news re­ports.

The Rus­si­an busi­ness net­work RBK-TV re­por­ted that Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin signed off on the ex­port of between two and four S-400 air and mis­sile de­fense units to China, the Dip­lo­mat re­por­ted on Fri­day. If the deal moves for­ward, it would make Beijing the first in­ter­na­tion­al pur­chaser of the tech­no­logy.

Putin and Chinese Pres­id­ent Xi Jin­ping in 2013 dis­cussed ways for their coun­tries to co­oper­ate on mis­sile de­fense, par­tic­u­larly on the S-400, which is de­signed to in­ter­cept me­di­um-range bal­list­ic mis­siles, cruise mis­siles and en­emy air­craft. China already de­ploys older-gen­er­a­tion S-300 sys­tems that were pro­duced dur­ing So­viet times.

Were China to ac­quire the more-cap­able S-400, it could un­settle nuc­le­ar re­la­tions with In­dia, ac­cord­ing to the Dip­lo­mat. Though In­dia pos­sesses bal­list­ic mis­siles that can travel fur­ther than the S-400’s re­por­ted max­im­um reach of 400 kilo­met­ers, the an­ti­mis­sile sys­tem could po­ten­tially tar­get a num­ber of In­dia’s short­er-range nuc­le­ar-cap­able mis­siles.

China’s re­la­tions with Taiwan and Ja­pan could also be im­pacted by ac­quir­ing the S-400. Ana­lysts have in­dic­ated the sys­tem would al­low China to achieve air­space su­prem­acy over the Taiwan Strait. The an­ti­mis­sile tech­no­logy could also be fielded on China’s coast near the Sen­kaku Is­lands, which Beijing and Tokyo are in an own­er­ship dis­pute over.

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