MOSCOW, August 23. /TASS/. Moscow keeps a close eye on development of friendly ties between the US and Japan in the sphere of missile defense, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in an interview with Chinese and Japanese mass media.
"We are closely monitoring the way the dialogue advances, as well as cooperation within the US-Japan alliance. We are concerned about it," he noted. "There is a whole range of issues that we set before our Japanese counterparts, because some aspects of friendly relations between Tokyo and Washington directly affect our interests in the sphere of security. I mean here, in a point of fact, development of missile defense cooperation and the prospects for creation of additional systems in Japan, such as Aegis Ashore, in particular, which was stated last week."
"We are seriously concerned about it, and we make it clear for our counterparts in a rather direct way," he added.
Aegis Ashore is a land-based missile defense system that is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles above the atmosphere during the midcourse phase of a hostile ballistic missile's flight. It is the sea-based component of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (Aegis BMD). According to previously reported assessments, Japan needs at least a few such systems to protect its territory.