14 April 1999 Russia, China warn of new arms race over U.S. missile defense plans AP News Service MOSCOW (AP) _ Russia and China on Wednesday warned of a new arms race if the United States goes ahead with plans to develop a nationwide defense system against limited missile attack. The U.S. Senate recently approved a bill calling for construction of the defense system ``as soon as technologically possible.'' The Americans have grown concerned about the possibility of attack from countries such as Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Russian politicians have been unanimous in assailing the U.S. plan to develop anti-missile defenses, saying the move would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. Moscow strongly opposes U.S. proposals to amend the treaty to allow for limited missile defenses. Russian and Chinese military officials and diplomats who met in Moscow to discuss the situation issued a statement saying the two countries have serious concerns about the U.S. plans. ``The fulfillment of these plans would violate the main obligation under the ABM treaty,'' said the statement, circulated by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Russia and China ``believe that undermining or violating the ABM treaty would lead to a whole range of negative consequences: New factors would appear that would be capable of destabilizing the international situation ... and create conditions for the resumption of the arms race,'' the statement said. Russia also contends the creation of a missile defense system would put on hold any further nuclear weapons reductions. President Boris Yeltsin recently approved a bill by Russian lawmakers that would make their approval of the START II arms reduction treaty, which the United States is anxious to see ratified, dependent on a U.S. commitment to the ABM treaty. Copyright 1999 AP News Service.