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Chinese Paper Says U.S. ABM Move Threat to Peace
Published on Friday, December 14, 2001 by Reuters
Chinese Paper Says U.S. ABM Move Threat to Peace
by Bill Savadove
 
BEIJING - The U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was a threat to world peace which could spark a new arms race, China Daily, the Communist Party's premier English-language newspaper, said on Saturday.

``Experts have warned of a turbulent world after the U.S. pull-out. It could unravel more than 30 other crisis-preventing accords, undermining international security,'' the paper said in an editorial.

The editorial was accompanied by a cartoon of a missile flying the American flag targeting a frightened peace dove.

President Bush announced the decision to withdraw from the Soviet-era treaty this week so that Washington could proceed with tests on a missile defense system.

China Daily said the unilateral decision could actually threaten the security of the United States, likening the move to policies which, it said, caused the September 11 attacks.

``He (Bush) ignores the role the ABM pact has played in maintaining world peace and keeping with the interests of the United States,'' it said.

The newspaper said the treaty had prevented a global arms race and acted as a bedrock for preventing a nuclear crisis.

Critics and some analysts of the U.S. pullout fear it could encourage China to build more missiles that could reach U.S. soil and spark a new arms race between Asian nuclear players.

China's rival India could acquire more warheads, which might in turn encourage Pakistan -- an ally of Beijing -- to boost its nuclear arsenal.

U.S. OFFICIALS TO VISIT

U.S. officials will travel to China next week to explain Washington's position.

``We've made quite clear that missile defense is not against China's strategic deterrence,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Friday, announcing the trip.

``We don't believe our deployment of a limited national missile defense should lead Beijing to expand its buildup of strategic nuclear forces,'' he said.

China's Foreign Ministry declined on Sunday to immediately comment on the planned visit.

On Friday, China responded to the U.S. decision with a calm call for multilateral talks, in a move analysts said showed Beijing was keen to keep ties with the United States on a positive track despite strong opposition to missile defense.

``The United States should not ignore the potential threats against itself from a legal vacuum of arms control. In a world full of conflicts and crisises, its security would inevitably be at stake,'' the China Daily editorial said.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Limited

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