Dutch back NATO missile defense

March 14, 2012 at 12:25 PM

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, March 14 (UPI) -- Though ballistic missiles don't pose an immediate threat to NATO allies, a defense shield would ensure the alliance is protected, a Dutch official said.

Pieter-Henk Schroor, an official from the Dutch Ministry of Defense, said the Netherlands was committed to playing a role in the NATO missile defense system. His government says more than 30 countries have, or are in the process of acquiring, ballistic missiles.

"They do not pose an immediate threat but in the long run it could become a threat and in order to be prepared for that, we think it is important that NATO develops ballistic missile defense capability and that the Netherlands participates in contributing to that capability," he said in a statement.

He explained that the Netherlands would work to upgrade air-defense frigates that would make up a long-range radar system. Once upgraded, the system would be able to track missile threats more than 600 miles away.

Russia has sought assurance that plans for a missile defense shield in Europe won't upset the strategic balance of power in the region. The United States said it would be implemented to deter a threat from Iran.

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