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
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
``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.
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