Russia, China To U.S.: Stick To Treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Chinese President Jiang Zemin toast each other after a signing ceremony in Beijing's Great Hall of the People in this July 18, 2000, file photo. Russia has a huge advantage over China in nuclear missiles and territory but is in many ways the poorer nation as the two countries move to cement a "strategic partnership" when they sign an important new friendship treaty during Zemin's four-day visit to Russia that begins Sunday, July 15, 2001.
The successful U.S. anti-ballistic missile test over the weekend seems to have galvanized a growing friendship between Russia and China, two world powers deeply concerned about U.S. military hegemony.

Russia and China, meeting at a friendship summit, said Monday they wanted the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) pact between Moscow and Washington to be preserved unchanged.

"Russia and China stress the basic importance of the ABM treaty, which is a cornerstone of the strategic stability and the basis for reducing offensive weapons, and speak out for maintaining the treaty in its current form," the official Russian news agency quoted a joint declaration by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin as saying.

Japanese Leader Ambivalent
Japan, the world's most fiercely anti-nuclear state, and the only country to have been attacked by nuclear weapons, had an ambivalent response to the test. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi admired the technical achievement but warned of potential diplomatic problems.

"They succeeded at some very difficult technology," Koizumi said. "If such a strong missile defense network were to be built, in some senses this means that ballistic missiles could become useless. However, if only the United States has a defensive stance, it could irritate other countries which do not possess such things."

Putin and Jiang signed the declaration along with a new bilateral friendship treaty at a Kremlin ceremony.

U.S. plans to create an anti-missile defense system against "rogue states" contradict the ABM pact and Washington wants the document amended or scrapped.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said prior to the test that if the administration goes ahead with plans to build underground silos next year at Fort Greely, Alaska, for missile interceptors, it would violate the treaty, which bars national missile defenses. That, in turn, could spark a new arms race, he said.

"If those plans were realized in practice, they would seriously complicate negotiations and would signify the United States' exit from the ABM treaty," Ivanov said.

The Bush administration wants Russia to agree to amend or replace the treaty with an arrangement permitting testing and deployment of defenses against long-range missiles. It has said the U.S. will press forward with anti-ballistic missile testing.

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