Russia: Tokyo deploying US Aegis Ashore missile system would be ‘disproportionate’

Thursday, August 24, 2017
By Paul Martin
24 Aug, 2017

Russia says Tokyo’s plans to acquire the US Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system are a “disproportionate response” to security challenges in the region, warning that the decision would jeopardize stability on the Korean Peninsula.

“We have been following closely the ongoing discussion in Japan over several years about the possibility of buying advanced missile defense systems from the US,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday, as cited by TASS.

“Of course, we saw recent media reports that Japan’s Defense Ministry is leaning towards choosing the Aegis Ashore systems.

“From the very beginning, we clearly exposed our concerns over plans to Tokyo, pointing to the failure of the Japanese side’s attempts to justify those plans by progress in the DPRK’s [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s] nuclear missile programs,” she said.

The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (ABMD) is designed to provide defense from short to intermediate-range missiles and consists of BMD-capable ships as well as a ground-based configuration. Japan’s Defense Ministry “decided to consider introducing a new US-made missile defense system known as ‘Aegis Ashore’ in light of progress in North Korea’s missile development,” NHK reported last Thursday.

Two or three Aegis Ashore batteries would be needed to defend the whole of Japan, at a cost of 70 to 80 billion yen (US$638.5 million to $726.6 million) per battery, Japanese daily the Mainichi reported last week.

“It is obvious to us that the decision to purchase and deploy the new [Aegis Ashore] systems, if it is taken, should be considered as disproportionate to real missile threats in the region. It [the decision] is capable of undermining the stability in the North Pacific Ocean, given the eventual incorporation of this system into the military infrastructure of the Asian segment of the global US missile defense system,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman concluded.

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