(UR) China — On Tuesday, while attending a security conference in China, officials from both the Russian and Chinese militaries confirmed the two countries are combining efforts to counter the expansion of the United States’ missile defense system, reports the Associated Press.

Russia and China are now “working together on ways to minimize the possible damage to the security of our countries,” Lieutenant General Viktor Poznikhir of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff said Tuesday, warning the “illusion of invulnerability and impunity” the U.S. has regarding its missile defense system “would encourage Washington to take unilateral steps in dealing with global and regional issues.”

This, argued Poznikhir on Tuesday, could lead to Washington “lowering the threshold of nuclear weapons use to preempt enemy actions.”

The United States’ missile defense system, which consists of individual units strategically deployed within U.S.-friendly borders around the planet — in Europe and the South Pacific, particularly — has long been, and still very much is, a point of concern for Russia and China, as Bloomberg recently explained:

“In May, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that placing parts of the system in Romania and Poland — once Soviet satellites — is threatening peace in Europe and warned that it may trigger a new arms race. China described the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system as an ‘out-and-out strategic’ move that threatens its national security, warning about taking ‘necessary measure to safeguard’ its interests. The plan has already soured ties with South Korea.”

Major General Cai Jun of China’s Joint Staff Department, who attended the briefing with Poznikhir on Tuesday, reiterated this stance, saying China “resolutely opposes the THAAD plan and strongly urges the United States and ROK (South Korea) to change their minds” about expanding those systems.

The same day, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, citing Major General Cai at the conference, wrote:

“The United States’ unilateral and ‘unconstructive’ design of missile defense systems will cause the global security environment to deteriorate, damage global strategic balance and regional security and stability and hinder the process of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, he said.”

Lieutenant General Poznikhir likened the reactionary nature of these national defense systems to gladiators squaring off in the arena, stating:

“If one of the gladiators takes up a shield, it will give him a marked advantage and make him think that he would be able to win, particularly if he strikes first. What would another gladiator do? Naturally, he would also pick up a shield and also a longer and stronger sword. This is what is happening now as a result of the U.S. missile deployment.”

And, with regard to reactions, a joint effort by Russia and China to counter the U.S. missile defense system is far from all that’s happening.

It was also reported on Tuesday that Russia, via military exercises in its southern region, tested for the first time a state management system “that allows the Defense Ministry to assume direct control over municipal and regional authorities, police, state security and emergency services.”

“In the course of the strategic war games Caucasus-2016, the Defense Ministry has for the first time tried how a military district command can directly manage the regions of the Russian Federation,” a high-ranking military source wasquoted as saying. “Exercising the interaction with state bodies was one of the main objectives of the war games.”

Which, given the current geopolitical circumstances, sounds an awful lot like Russia preparing for martial law.

In fact, the news of the drill comes barely a week after it was announced over 40 million Russians would take part in a four-day civil defense exercise prioritizing the “evacuation of the civilian population from potentially-risky areas,” and improving coordination between governmental bodies in a crisis.

All these actions, Lieutenant General Pznikhir was sure to make known on Tuesday, fall within the confines of the Russian Defense Plan 2016-2020, which President Vladimir Putin signed in November of last year.

In another telling move, it seems the Russian government just ordered state officials and government workers to bring any of their children studying abroad back home to Russia. Writes Zero Hedge:

“It appears that the underlying reason behind the command is that the Russian government is concerned about the optics of having children of the Russian political elite being educated abroad, while their parents appear on television talking about patriotism and being ‘surrounded by enemies.’”

All this takes place as the U.S. just vows “proportional” response to Russian provocations. And while this warning was made in reference to purported hacking of U.S. networks by Russia, it’s not exactly a stretch — the situation being what it is — to foresee such posturing spilling over into other fronts in the very near future.

This article (Russia: US Missile Defense Could Embolden Washington to Use Preemptive Nukes) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to James Holbrooks and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to undergroundreporter2016@gmail.com. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.