The land-based Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex in Kauai, Hawaii. Photo: US Missile Defense Agency via Reuters

The Pentagon is reportedly working on an expanded US missile defense policy that addresses specific regional threats from Russia and China in Europe and Asia.

US military newspaper Stars and Stripes says the new policy marks a shift from a prior strategy that focused nearly exclusively on rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran.

“The new policy will still call for bolstered technology against rogue states, with a particular focus on weapons to intercept North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missiles. But people familiar with the review say it will also mention the need to consider missile threats from Russia and China, a change from previous doctrine,” Stars and Stripes said.

The new policy document is still in draft form and it could reportedly be changed before its tentative release date in late March.

Word of the Pentagon effort follows a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday  in which he claimed that Moscow has a new intercontinental ballistic missile that can dodge Western anti-missile systems.

Anti-missile focus on Europe, Asia                                             
The newspaper noted that “Russia’s thousands of missiles easily could overwhelm existing US missile defenses in the event of a full-scale war.” Because of this, the US is said to rely on its own vast nuclear arsenal to deter attacks from potential foes like Russia and China.

“As a result, the Pentagon isn’t pursuing a shield against all missile threats from Russia and China. American defense planners abandoned such lofty goals after the Soviet Union’s collapse,” Stars and Stripes said. “Rather, according to one US official, the policy will more discretely look at ways the United States can better deal with burgeoning missile threats from Russia and China in regional theaters such as Europe and Asia, where the two countries’ systems have alarmed the American military.”

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