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China Lashes Talk of Asian Missile Shield

A senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official on Wednesday lashed potential U.S. plans to collaborate with partner nations in developing a ballistic missile shield covering Asia, China Daily reported (see GSN, March 27).

U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Madelyn Creedon in March said the Obama administration was discussing cooperative missile defense with Australia, Japan and South Korea, according to earlier reporting. Any antimissile system for the region would be based on the developing U.S. "phased adaptive approach" program to deploy land- and sea-based missile interceptors around Europe, Creedon told lawmakers.

"The Chinese government always insists that (countries) should start by maintaining global strategic stability and promoting strategic mutual trust between major powers to handle the issue of missile defense prudently," according to Luo Zhaohui, Asian affairs chief for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

"Building a missile defense system in the Asia-Pacific region will have negative effects on global and regional strategic stability, and go against the security needs of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.

His statements come as North Korea moves ahead with plans for a declared rocket launch that the United States and other nations see as a test of the regime's long-range ballistic missile capabilities (see related GSN story, today). Washington for years has warned of the North's missile development, which occurs alongside a known nuclear-weapon drive.

The United States also keeps a wary eye on China's growing strategic and military power.

Beijing has long argued that concerns about the spread of missile technology should be addressed through nonmilitary strategies and has said the United States should not act rashly when it comes to antimissile activities, Luo said.

"We also urge relevant countries in the Asia-Pacific region to act prudently in cooperating with the U.S. on missile defense, and not develop or deploy missile defense systems that exceed the needs of its development," he stated.

The official noted that his nation "firmly objects to providing assistance in missile defense to Taiwan in any way." The United States continues to be a major provider of military technology to Taiwan, which is governed autonomously but claimed by Beijing as Chinese territory (see GSN, April 6; Cheng Guangjin, China Daily, April 12).

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