24 August 2017
Russia's Foreign Ministry on Thursday said that Japan's plan to deploy the U.S. Aegis Ashore missile defense systems would be "disproportionate" and warned that doing so could destabilize the region.
"It is obvious to us that the decision to purchase and deploy the new [Aegis Ashore] systems, if it is taken, should be considered as disproportionate to real missile threats in the region," Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the ministry, said, according to Russian broadcaster Russia Today.
She also called for "caution" as the U.S. and South Korea conduct joint military drills. Those exercises, Zakharova said, have kept tensions high on the Korean Peninsula.
"As a result of pumping the region with weapons, any reckless move or even an unintentional incident may serve as a pretext for military conflict," she said, according to Russia Today.
Zakharova's comments on Thursday came a day after the country's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow was seriously concerned that Japan could deploy the missile defense system.
Japan's Defense Ministry is set to request that its fiscal 2018 budget account for planning costs to install the Aegis Ashore system on its soil, The Japan Times reported last week.
The move comes in response to heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
News emerged last month that Pyongyang had developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead capable of fitting inside one of its missiles. That prompted President Trump to say Washington would respond with "fire and fury" if the country continued to threaten the U.S.
Since then, the North has threatened a strike in the waters near Guam, a U.S.
territory and home to key military installations in the Pacific.