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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 4, 2001
U.S., China to Discuss Missile Defense
Statement by the Press Secretary
The Presidents policy is to seek to reduce the level of offensive nuclear weapons in the world, to lessen the risk of nuclear war, and to protect the United States and its military forces, allies, and friends from threats like ballistic missile attack. In that context, the United States will hold intensive discussions with China on this subject in the coming weeks. In those discussions, we will share with the Chinese the same briefing on our missile defense testing program that we have shared with our Asian and European allies and friends and with the Russians.
Our consultations with China will make clear that the U.S. missile defense program does not threaten China but seeks to counter limited missile threats from rogue states and the danger of accidental or unauthorized launches. Only those foreign parties with hostile intent toward the United States have grounds to fear U.S. missile defense.
The United States will not seek to overcome China's opposition to missile defense by telling the Chinese that we do not object to an expansion of their nuclear ballistic missile force. Nor will we acquiesce in any resumption of nuclear testing by China. We are respecting the nuclear testing moratorium and all other nations should as well.
No one should try to blame the modernization of China's offensive nuclear forces on our missile defense efforts. China's ongoing modernization effort was initiated years ago. We will tell the Chinese that it is unnecessary and that it is not good for regional stability or for peace.
We believe missile defense can contribute to stability in Asia. Moreover, missile defense is an important element of our broader strategy to combat proliferation of missiles and weapons of mass destruction. The export of Chinese missile technology continues to be a concern (which is why we imposed sanctions on a Chinese company on Saturday) as does the Chinese buildup of short-range ballistic missiles.
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