China and Russia will conduct their first joint computer-assisted anti-missile drill later this month, state media reported Thursday, citing officials. The move comes as the United States and South Korea mull the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in the Korean Peninsula to counter threats from North Korea, which has increased its nuclear ambitions.
The defense ministries of China and Russia announced late Tuesday that the drill will be held later this month at a Russian defense forces research center, the official English-language China Daily newspaper reported. While the two countries mentioned that the exercise “does not target any third party” analysts told the newspaper that Beijing and Moscow face challenges over Washington’s potential deployment of THAAD.
Experts further told China Daily that the drill would help the militaries of the two countries learn about their respective command structures and data transmission processes.
China and Russia have repeatedly voiced their opposition to the deployment of the missile system. Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed concern over the possible move, saying that it will cause a “real threat to the security of our countries.”
North Korea has carried out several missile and nuclear tests, sending its neighbor South Korea into a state of frenzy. Seoul, which had earlier steered clear of THAAD missile deployment because of strong trade relations with Beijing, sought Washington’s help to deter Pyongyang’s nuclear activities. The two countries formally began talks over the possible deployment of THAAD missile system in April.
China has maintained that the THAAD missile system could be used to monitor its missile launches as far inland as Xian in the northwest. THAAD can reportedly shoot down short-, medium- and immediate-range ballistic missiles.