Tags: U.S. | Envoy | Fails | Convince | China | NMD

U.S. Envoy Fails to Convince China on NMD

Wednesday, 16 May 2001 12:00 AM

"Although we clearly still have differences of opinion, our consultations on this subject were constructive and constitute a good beginning to what both sides agreed would be a continuing dialogue on these important security issues," said Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly.

Kelly said he stressed the Bush administration's view that the missile defense system intended to enhance global security and was not targeted at any one nation.

"I stressed that our plans for a missile defense system would not be a threat to China," he said insisting that NMD will aim to "defend against threats or attacks from rogue states as well as from accidental or unauthorized launches."

However, China is unlikely to waver in its opposition to the shield, which would not only neutralize Beijing's small nuclear arsenal, but could eventually lead to a Theater Missile Defense system that many in Washington want to protect U.S. allies in Asia.

China claims that developing such a defense shield will bring about a new arms race and has in the past hinted that it could force Beijing to stop cooperating with U.S. efforts to stop the proliferation of missile and nuclear technology.

"China's clear and consistent position is unchanged," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Sun Yuxi said Tuesday.

Sun also emphasized the fact the Beijing is more worried about the future prospects for a TMD system that could someday protect Taiwan.

"We more strongly oppose calls by some people to involve Taiwan in TMD, which would be a violation of China's sovereignty," Sun said.

There have been calls in the United States for theater missile defense that could be deployed to protect U.S. troops in South Korea and allies in Japan, but some have suggested the plan could include Taiwan, which is facing an increasing missile threat from mainland China.

China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has repeatedly threatened to take it back by force. There are currently around 300 short-range missiles along the Chinese coast aimed at Taiwan and defense analysts expect that number to increase in the future.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Although we clearly still have differences of opinion, our consultations on this subject were constructive and constitute a good beginning to what both sides agreed would be a continuing dialogue on these important security issues, said Assistant Secretary of State James...
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2001-00-16
Wednesday, 16 May 2001 12:00 AM
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