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U.S. says no reason for Russia to take countermeasures to missile defense

05-04-2012 04:56 BJT

WASHINGTON, May 3 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Thursday that Russia cannot justify itself by threatening to take military countermeasures to NATO's missile defense system, as the system will not shift the strategic balance between Washington and Moscow.

In response to comments by top Russian military officers, State Department spokesman Mark Toner stated that "We've said many times before, there's no reason for Russia to take military countermeasures to missile defenses that will not affect the strategic balance between the United States and Russia."

"This is a common refrain to anyone who's followed this issue," he told reporters at a regular news briefing. "We've made clear for many years now that there's no intent, desire or capability to undermine Russian strategic deterrent."

"I think we're just going to redouble our efforts to seek common ground on this and to seek understanding," he added.

The deployment of missile defense shield in Europe has long been an irritant in U.S.-Russian relations. Moscow has voiced strong opposition but failed to obtain legally binding guarantees from Washington and NATO that the system does not target Russia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned in November last year that Russia would deploy missiles against NATO's missile shield, if the two fail to reach a deal.

As Washington intends to declare an interim missile defense capability in Europe in the forthcoming NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21, Moscow opened a two-day conference on missile defense on Thursday, drawing representatives from some 50 countries, including the U.S. and other NATO member states.

Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov warned of a possible pre-emptive strike on NATO's missile system by Russia. "A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens," he was quoted as saying.

Russia's Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov also warned that talks between Moscow and Washington are "practically reaching an impasse."

 

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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