Russia has approved the sale to China of an advanced antimissile system that could have ramifications on nuclear stability with India, according to news reports.
The Russian business network RBK-TV reported that President Vladimir Putin signed off on the export of between two and four S-400 air and missile defense units to China, the Diplomat reported on Friday. If the deal moves forward, it would make Beijing the first international purchaser of the technology.
Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 discussed ways for their countries to cooperate on missile defense, particularly on the S-400, which is designed to intercept medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and enemy aircraft. China already deploys older-generation S-300 systems that were produced during Soviet times.
Were China to acquire the more-capable S-400, it could unsettle nuclear relations with India, according to the Diplomat. Though India possesses ballistic missiles that can travel further than the S-400's reported maximum reach of 400 kilometers, the antimissile system could potentially target a number of India's shorter-range nuclear-capable missiles.
China's relations with Taiwan and Japan could also be impacted by acquiring the S-400. Analysts have indicated the system would allow China to achieve airspace supremacy over the Taiwan Strait. The antimissile technology could also be fielded on China's coast near the Senkaku Islands, which Beijing and Tokyo are in an ownership dispute over.