Deployment of ABM in Asia-Pacific region may polarize forces – Russian official

Missile Defense Launch File Photo

(Interfax – June 1, 2013) Unilateral deployment of strategic missile defence elements may lead to the polarization of forces in the Asia-Pacific region, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Antonov has said, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 1 June.

“The strategic situation in the Asia-Pacific region is burdened by the missile defence factor. We are concerned by the unilateral deployment of elements of strategic missile defence. We believe that such actions may undermine the foundations of strategic balance and lead to the polarization of forces in the region,” Antonov said in Singapore at the “Shangri-La Dialogue” international conference on security in Asia.

“Our principled position on missile defence is based on the need for a multilateral approach to the assessment of missiles risks and threats in the world, and also, if required, for a collective response to them. Solid guarantees are needed that the missile defence potential is appropriate for the declared aims and will not violate global and regional balances,” he said.

He added that the deployment of missile defence elements in the Asia-Pacific region also creates problems for space activities.

“It is necessary to take into account the space defence potential of missile defence resources,” Antonov said. “Taking into account the geographical position of the region, the capabilities of missile defence resources deployed here for destroying other countries’ satellites is very high.”

“This fact will create a problem for space activities,” he noted.

“The creation of missile defence systems encourages and provokes other countries to increase the number of missiles and to increase their effectiveness. From an economic point of view, means to overcome missile defence are far cheaper than the systems which they are intended to oppose,” Antonov said. “Therefore, when take a decision about deploying missile defence, it is extremely important to observe the balance of positive and negative factors and also to take regional characteristics into account.”

Important to avoid situation with European ABM

Antonov also said that it is important in the Asia-Pacific region to avoid the situation which has arisen in Europe where Russia and the USA cannot agree on missile defence.

“It would be advisable to use existing experience of discussions and to try to avoid repetition of the shortcomings inherent in the creation of missile defence systems in other regions, when construction takes place without taking into account neighbours’ interests,” he noted.

He said that it is more effective to conduct all discussions on the subject of missile defence within the framework of region-wide forums.

“After assessing the missile challenges and threats it will become clear for which aims it is necessary or that there is no need to create missile defence in the Asia-Pacific region, and also what technical requirements will be formulated for its parameters,” he added.

He said that Moscow is convinced that peace in the region should be based not on improving and increasing military might, but on dialogue, cooperation and trust.

“Russia advocates the implementation in the region of the principle of the indivisibility of security, when the security of each is inextricably linked with the security of everyone, when all participant states renounce actions to strengthen their own security at the expense of others’ security,” Antonov said.