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

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.