Title: "Editorial: Missile Technology Control Regime." The spread of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the ballistic missiles that can deliver them, remains a menace to
international peace; only by constant, concerted vigilance and adherence to treaties such as the Missile Technology Control Regime can we ensure international security. (920504)
Translated Title: Editorial: Regimen control tecnoligia de misiles. (920504)
EDITORIAL: MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGION (460)
(Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America May 4, reflecting the views of the U.S. government.)
Iraqi Scud missile attacks against Israel and Saudi Arabia in last year's Persian Gulf war demonstrated the threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. Aside from the death and destruction they can cause when armed with conventional explosives, ballistic missiles are suited to the delivery of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. And unlike manned aircraft, missiles cannot be recalled once they are launched.
As President George Bush has stressed, the United States is committed to stopping the spread of ballistic missiles. One way that responsible members of the international community are trying to stop this spread is through the Missile Technology Control Regime. The United States and six other countries formed the regime in April 1987. Since that time it has grown to 19 countries, with more expected to join soon. The members of the regime have agreed to follow export guidelines covering a variety of items useful in the development of ballistic missiles. The regime seeks to limit the spread of ballistic missiles capable of delivering first-generation nuclear warheads, that is, missiles that can carry payloads of 500 kilograms a distance of at least 300 kilometers.
In addition to the countries that have joined the Missile Technology Control Regime, several other key countries have agreed to place similar restrictions on their missile-technology exports. These countries include Russia, Argentina, Israel, China and several of the new East European democracies.
Recently, China formally pledged that it would abide by the guidelines of the Missile Technology Control Regime. Less than a year ago, in June 1991, the United States imposed sanctions on China because of China's transfer of ballistic missiles to Pakistan. The United States lifted the sanctions as a result of China's promise to apply the Missile Technology Control Regime guidelines to all missile and missile technology transfers. China also specifically agreed not to transfer its M-9 and M-11 ballistic missiles. Countries such as Syria, Iran and Pakistan had expressed interest in these missiles. The United States urges China to live up to its commitment to abide by the guidelines of the Missile Technology Control Regime. North Korea is now the only significant missile-exporting country which has not joined the regime or adopted its guidelines.
The spread of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the ballistic missiles that can deliver them, remains a menace to international peace. As U.S. Secretary of State James Baker recently said, "Only by constant, concerted vigilance -- the sort of vigilance that brought us victory in the Cold War -- can we ensure...international security."