CIA Report Warns Of
Missile Defence Dangers
By Ben MacIntyre in Washington - The Times
America's deployment of a national missile defence system could prompt a huge nuclear build-up by China and a furious response from its European allies, a leaked US intelligence report warns.
The classified document says that if the US proceeds with the plan for a national missile defence shield, China could increase its nuclear arsenal tenfold, triggering buildups in India and Pakistan.
Russia is unlikely to embark on a large-scale nuclear buildup through lack of funds, but could instead add multiple warheads to its ballistic missiles, the report adds. The document, compiled by the US intelligence agencies, gives warning of a European outcry if the system, intended as a defence against attacks from rogue states, is put in place without Russia's agreement.
The study, the work of the CIA, Defence Intelligence Agency and State Department Bureau of Intelligence, concludes that China is already planning to increase its 20 single-warhead intercontinental missiles and that the national missile defence system could prompt Beijing to try to develop 200 warheads - enough firepower to overwhelm the US missile defence, which is designed to protect against only a dozen rockets.
President Clinton, who received the report this week, said he would take into account four main factors before making a decision: the urgency of the missile threat, the cost of building the defensive shield, the feasibility of the project and the implications for US foreign policy, including responses from other nations.
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