DPRK rocket tests benefit Rusian military interests

Although the foreign policy implications of US missile defense plans with regards to Russia lie outside the scope of this blog, it is worth pointing out that the Russian government has very cleverly found a way to use North Korean rocket and missile tests to its strategic advantage–by claiming that the North Korean missile tests pose a potential danger to citizens of Eastern Russia.  The potential North Korean threat gives political cover for a build up of the Russian military capacities near Vladivostok where not only the Russian military but also the US, South & North Korean, Japanese, and Chinese forces are also strategically positioned.  According to the Times of London:

The Kremlin ordered troops to deploy Russia’s most advanced missile defence system, the S-400, to intercept any threats from North Korea’s nuclear programme. General Nikolai Makarov, the head of the Russian army, said that a mobile battery of 32 surface-to-air missiles had been put into operation in anticipation of any Korean tests.

“We are taking these preventative measures as a security guarantee against faulty launches of the missiles and to guarantee that fragments of these missiles never fall on Russian territory,” he said. “We are concerned by the fact that the site in North Korea where it carries out its nuclear tests is located quite close to the Russian border.”

A senior Russian senator said that use of the S-400 system could not be ruled out, but he rejected any comparison between Moscow’s actions and the decision by the United States to build a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe. The US argues that the shield is necessary to deter attacks by rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea, but Russia has denounced the plan as a threat to its national security.

Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, said that the US was responding to “non-existent” dangers, while Russia was defending against “the emergence of real sources of threat”.

Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok is just 93 miles from its narrow border with North Korea. Six missiles test-fired by North Korea in 2006 reportedly fell in Russian waters in the Sea of Japan.

North Korea fired 11 short-range rockets with a range of up to 500km in two separate launches last month, defying a United Nations ban on ballistic missile activities linked to sanctions against its nuclear programme.

The regime in Pyongyang carried out a second underground nuclear explosion in May at the same time as it test-fired another series of short-range missiles. It also test-fired a long-range missile in April that is said to be capable of reaching Britain and the US.
The S-400 “Triumph” system has a range of up to 400km and is said to be capable of bringing down cruise and tactical missiles as well as aircraft using stealth technology.

Who will move next?

Read the full story here:
Russia deploys missiles along border with North Korea
Times of London
Tony Halpin


One Response to “DPRK rocket tests benefit Rusian military interests”

  1. Although it was seemingly only reported in the French and Russian press, one small part of what is driving this deployment may be untoward remarks by a North Korean diplomat in Vladivostok after the May 2009 nuclear test.

    Le Monde reports in an English translation: