US aim to “contain” Russia, China a concern – Russian security official

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(Interfax – May 30, 2015)

The US policy in the Asia-Pacific region is viewed by Russia with concern as it aims to “contain” both Russia and China, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Antonov has said.

Separately, Antonov did not rule out “open confrontation” in the region faced with “new challenges and threats”. His remarks were reported by the Russian news agency Interfax on 30 May.

“We are concerned about US policy in the region, all the more so as with each passing day it becomes more and more aimed at the systemic ‘containment’ of Russia and China,” Antonov told a regional security conference in Singapore. Washington, he said, is openly putting pressure on the leadership of the regional nations in a bid to force them to renounce cooperation with Russia, including naval. “US pressure on Vietnam to prevent the servicing of Russian long-range aircraft in Vietnamese airports is a recent example,” Antonov said.

“New challenges and threats to security” can “under certain conditions destabilize the regional situation, escalate military-political tensions and even lead to open confrontation”, Antonov warned. In his view, a “conceptual document on comprehensive Asia-Pacific security” is needed.

Regional US missile defence a threat

US missile defence plans, including their Asia-Pacific segment, undermine strategic stability as they seek to boost US security at Russia’s expense, Antonov also said, including what he described as plans to bring the Aegis shipborne missile defence system ever closer to Russia’s shores.

“Despite our concerns about the architecture of the US global missile defence system, the United States continues a policy of undermining strategic stability with an additional missile ‘shield’ segment in the Asia-Pacific region” that is “far in excess of the capability required to neutralize possible missile risks and threats”, Antonov said.

“It is evident that the US wants to bring its Aegis ships closer to Russian shores,” Antonov said. “Washington’s plans to deploy hypersonic weapons on Virginia-class nuclear submarines as part of the Prompt Global Strike concept” are also of concern, he added.

“The one-sided bias in the security architecture must be rectified jointly on the basis of international law and with respect for the national interests of each country. I want to emphasize that no state has the right to strengthen its security at the expense of weakening the defence capability of another,” Antonov summed up.