People's Daily 28 October 1999

Russia Says "No" to ABM Treaty Revision

US Disarmament Undersecretary John Holum has been seen earlier to have a two-day talk at Moscow with Russian vice FM on the Third-Phase Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). For firm opposition from Russia to US proposal for a revision of the ABM Treaty, nothing has come out of the Moscow talk.

An official view is that nothing could have been expected as a matter of fact from the US-Russian anti-ballistic missile talk. So as things were seen during the Moscow talk each party just hang on a different tone. The US placed its proposal before Russia for a revision of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. But according to Russia, it is merely an act in undermining the ABM Treaty. The US was otherwise told that only when it pledges not a revision of the ABM Treaty there is the possibility for a further reduction of offensive strategic arms. At a time as is now when the ABM Treaty is to be torn to scraps all talks on a reduction of offensive strategic arms will come to no avail.

In the past year, some US NMD-TMD gimmicks have called Russia to be on the alert. On the one hand, the US tries every possibility to coax the Russian Duma into an approval for the "Russian-US Second-Phase Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty" signed in 1993, calling for an early talk to be held on a third-phase strategic arms reduction with Russia. On the other, it tries its utmost to develop a NMD-TMD system on its own. Just some time before, the US Senate vetoed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in bringing about a great damage to the international effort made in the last 30 years. "Unscrupulous, stopping at nothing to get itself armed and the others weakened" is the customary practice of the US in doing things. Such a hegemonic action has provoked great opposition from the international community and anger of the world people.

In an attempt to cow Russia into submission, the US has truly acted tough and talked soft. The US went to all lengths of trying to let its Russian counterpart know that to build a NMD-TMD system is designed to prevent threats from "ruffian countries" in dozen or so years in the future. But the US failed in its sophistry and tough-soft tactics. Trying on another tack, it then voluntarily wanted with its own money to help Russia build a radar installation near Irkutsk, Siberia. Russian public opinion holds that such a proposal of the US is merely a "soft knife" serving as a stone to kill two bids. This is because the US is simply in need of such a deal in exchange for Russia's agreement to a revision of the ABM Treaty. On the other, the radar installation will not be built in a position to "reconnoiter or go in for surveillance" over all arms reinforcement gimmicks in the US. Since soft tactic does not work, the US applies its tough tactic. In the course of talk, the US threatened that if Russia should say "no" to an ABM Treaty revision it would unilaterally withdraw from the ABM Treaty it has signed.

What is more, the US even played its tough card as if a diplomatic note has been served, saying that President Clinton will approve the plan to develop a NMD system in the US prior to expiration of his office. In light of the threat, Russian Vice Premier Ilya Klebanov released a statement to say that if the US should withdraw from the ABM Treaty the Russian air force still possesses the technological capacities to protect its motherland. In the words of Russian military experts, offensive weaponry will be further developed to counter the alleged US withdrawal for weapons like that "will take less time and cost less".

When US-Russian talks were still being held during the first day at Moscow, people have already come to be aware that the talks were bound to failure. As a fact is known to people, Russia had presented during that day its draft resolution on "Upholding and Abiding by the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty" to the UN Security Council. At this, representatives from various countries to the UN publicly issued statements denouncing the US ABM Treaty revision gimmicks. They pointed out that by undermining the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is simply to mean a serious damage to global strategic balance. It will bring a new round of arms race. The non-nuclear countries will renounce their commitment not to developing nuclear weapons. US Disarmament Undersecretary Holum complained about the many charges made against the US ABM Treaty revision gimmicks in the UN. According to this US undersecretary, since the problem has just been raised and talks are still being held with Russia, where comes the necessity for his Russian counterpart to make it a contentious issue known to the world community? Russian papers comment that if the US is not having a bellyful of tricks where comes the fear for a problem of great bearing to world security to be known by people throughout the world? (By People's Daily Residential Reporter in Moscow Liu Gang)

Opinion 1999-10-28 Page6