Russia, China denounce US global missile defence plans

May 23rd, 2008 - 9:33 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Beijing, May 23 (RIA Novosti) China and Russia Friday denounced the US moves to establish a global missile defence system, saying the plans threaten the global strategic balance. Both countries denounced the US plans through a joint declaration signed after talks between visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in Beijing.

The Russian president arrived here Friday morning on a two-day state visit in his first foreign trip outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) after assuming office early this month.

“The parties believe that the construction of a global missile defence system, including the deployment of such a system in some regions of the world… does not contribute to maintaining a strategic balance and stability, and runs counter to international efforts to control arms and non-proliferation,” the declaration said.

The missile defence plans also “weaken confidence-building measures between countries and the consolidation of regional stability,” the statement said.

Russia and China have taken a shared stance on many global issues in recent years, often opposing the position of the US.

The US-proposed European part of the global missile defence shield will see the deployment of 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar site in the neighbouring Czech Republic.

Moscow is opposed to the plans, saying the shield would threaten Russia’s national security.

The plans have proved the bone of contention in relations between the US and Russia, and were the focus of two meetings between the countries’ top diplomats and defence chiefs last October and in March this year.

The Czech government approved the deployment of the missile defence system on its territory Wednesday. The basic document still needs to be ratified by the country’s parliament and signed by President Vaclav Klaus.

Meanwhile, Poland is still negotiating terms and conditions with the US. Warsaw wants the US to assist in modernizing its Armed Forces in exchange for the deployment of the 10 missile interceptors on its soil.

On Thursday, the US House of Representatives reduced funding for the project by 52 percent, approving a sum of $370.8 million. The Bush administration had originally requested $712 million in funding for the European component of the missile shield in 2009.

The US Senate is due to consider the proposed missile defence bill in June.

DPA added : On the first day of Medvedev’s visit to China, the two countries agreed Friday to expand cooperation between them.

During the talks, Hu called for increased cooperation between the two states and said that steps needed to be taken to reduce the trade imbalance, which is currently in China’s favour.

Russia has been urging China to import more Russian machinery and engineering goods instead of concentrating on energy imports.

A meeting with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao scheduled for Saturday was called off because Wen is paying another visit to earthquake-devastated Sichuan province.

The scheduling of the visit was a bold move in Russia’s resurgent world politics, snubbing its largest trading partner Europe.

Eight years back, his predecessor Vladimir Putin’s first official trip abroad was to Britain, a state that has seen its relations with Moscow deteriorate in recent years.

Russia and China, both members of the UN Security Council, have come closer in their foreign policy alignment in an effort to balance the influence of the US and shore up lucrative oil and gas trade.

The two countries plan to sign a billion-dollar deal to cooperate in building a civilian nuclear facility, the head of Russia’s atomic energy agency Rosatom, Sergei Kiryenko, said Friday.
RIA Novosti

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