China Nervous About U.S.-Led Missile Defense System

China is growing nervous after U.S. calls for an Asia-wide missile-defense system against the threat of North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In a lengthy article on Thursday, the official Global Times said, "North Korea and Iran are named by Washington as the targets of the missile defense system, though it is clear the real targets are China and Russia." It added China "should firmly oppose it." The paper also said China should learn from what Russia has done to oppose the deployment of a U.S.-led missile defense shield in Europe.

In a separate editorial, the daily said North Korea's plan to launch a rocket next month "has been used by Washington to install a missile defense system. It is a wise move. China can copy it and upgrade its nuclear weapon capability due to the possible threats posed by the U.S. system. Specifically, China can improve its nuclear weapons in both quantity and quality as well as develop offensive nuclear-powered submarines. China's ballistic missiles should be able to break the interception capability of the U.S. system."

The daily added, "If Japan, South Korea and Australia join the system, a vicious arms race in Asia may follow. It is not what China wants to see, but it will have to deal with it if the arms race happens."

On Wednesday, the paper's weekly magazine also reported that the U.S. and Japanese missile defense systems are aimed at China and said Washington and Tokyo are about to bring the missile defense system to China's doorstep.

An expert from Tongji University in Shanghai appeared on Hong Kong's Phoenix TV on Thursday and said China must increase its nuclear arsenal and improve its missile capability to break through the U.S.' missile defense shield. Xia Liping also warned that Chinese missiles would have to attack U.S. communications satellites that will play a crucial role in the missile defense shield.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 30, 2012 12:36 KST