Russia Warns Of New
Missile Arms Race
MOSCOW - Russia, already upset about the eastward expansion of NATO, is warning of a new arms race if the U.S. deploys a new "star wars" anti-ballistic missile defence system.
"We are against the setting up of such systems," Russian Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov told a news conference in Friday. "Not just in Asia but in other parts of the world, including Europe."
The so-called Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system is being developed to protect the U.S. and participating allies from nuclear missile attacks by "rogue states." Special attention is being paid to protecting Japan, which lies within striking distance of North Korea.
The TMD has outraged many powers. Russia says the system would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, in which the United States and the Soviet Union agreed not to develop missile defence systems.
Washington wants to amend the treaty, or even abolish it altogether. Moscow wants the treaty to remain as it is.
China is angered by Taiwan's desire to participate in the system. China considers Taiwan a renegade province, and has said Taiwan's integration into the TMD would heighten tension between China and the U.S.
Russia says TMD could trigger a new missile technology race between nations covered by the defence umbrella, and those outside the shield.
Ivashov cited Russia's continued refusal to ratify the START-2 strategic missile reduction treaty.