Japan's deployment of US missile system affects Russia’s security interests: Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that the deployment of US missile system components in Japan would have a direct impact on his country's national security and regional interests.
“Japan’s plans for deploying a global missile defense system directly affect [the] security interests of Russia,” Lavrov said at a press conference with his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Japan’s cabinet in December approved the deployment of the US military’s ground-based Aegis missile interceptor system in an alleged attempt to counter purported threats from North Korea.
“North Korea’s nuclear and missile development has become a greater and more imminent threat for Japan’s national security, and we need to drastically improve our ballistic missile defense capability to protect Japan continuously and sustainably,” the government said in a statement.
Later in January, the US approved a $133.3 million sale of anti-ballistic missiles to Japan to defend itself against what Washington says is a growing nuclear and missile threat from North Korea.
The State Department notified Congress of the matter, asking it to approve the sale of the four missiles for the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor.
Elsewhere in the presser, Lavrov expressed Moscow’s concerns over Tokyo’s intentions “to actively engage” in US plans to deploy missile defense components on its territory.
“With full respect for Japan’s right to choose the way it protects its territory, we proceed from the premise that any action of any country should be based on the rule of security indivisibility," the top Russian diplomat said.
He emphasized that no country must ensure its security by "infringing on the security of others."
Besides the Aegis system, Washington has equipped Tokyo with Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile systems.
The two allies are also working on a jointly developed ship-based missile interceptor called the RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) that will be used with the Aegis system.
Russia has long warned that the American Aegis system undermines the global balance of power and can eventually be aimed against Moscow due to the system’s potential dual-purpose capability.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on December 28 said Japan's plans to deploy more US missile systems hurts ties between Moscow and Tokyo and amounts to a breach of an arms control treaty with Washington.