Title: "MTCR Targets Biological, Chemical-Capable Missiles." In a move to further curb the proliferation of ballistic missiles, the US and its 21 partners in the Missile
Technology Control Regime adopted revised guidelines to extend the scope of the regime to missiles capable of delivering biological and chemical weapons as well as nuclear weapons. (930107)
Translated Title: MTCR brega con misiles capace de transportar armas biologicas y quimicas. (930107)
Author: DYBVIK, RUSSELL E (USIA STAFF WRITER)
MTCR TARGETS BIOLOGICAL, CHEMICAL-CAPABLE MISSILES
(Move aims at curbing missile proliferation) (780) By Russell Dybvik USIA Diplomatic Correspondent Washington -- In a move to further curb the proliferation of ballistic missiles, the United States and its 21 partners in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) adopted revised guidelines January 7 to extend the scope of the regime to missiles capable of delivering biological and chemical weapons as well as nuclear weapons.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher announced the decision at a news briefing January 7. The new guidelines replace those originally adopted on April 16, 1987, which required "a strong presumption of denial for the transfer of missiles" capable of carrying a payload of 500 kilograms or more to a range of 300 kilometers or greater.
The new guidelines mandate "a strong presumption of denial" for the transfer of "any missiles, regardless of their payload or range, which are judged to be intended to carry any weapon of mass destruction, not just nuclear weapons," Boucher said. "So it deals with intentions, and with even shorter range or lower payload missiles.
"If there is information that would be shared among the partners that would indicate that that missile might be intended to be used for a chemical, or a biological or any weapon of mass destruction, then there would be a very strong presumption of denial," the spokesman explained.
Asked to define "a strong presumption of denial," Boucher replied: "It means that the countries involved plan on denying those exports."
"The adoption of these guidelines, and their implementation, confirms and tightens existing policy," Boucher said. "These measures will further strengthen the MTCR and will be important factors in countering the proliferation of missile systems." He said simultaneous announcements were being made in the capitals of the other 21 partner nations.
The MTCR is composed of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.
He said the MTCR partners began working on the revised guidelines at their plenary meeting in Washington in November 1991. "The need to expand the guidelines, we think, was made clear by the Gulf War," Boucher said.
Responding to questions, the spokesman explained that under the new MTCR regime, partner governments would presumably deny the transfer of all missiles with a 500-kilogram payload capacity and a minimum range of 300 kilometers, plus any other missiles that "might be intended" for use with any weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological or nuclear.
"Basically, any missile is capable of carrying chemical or biological weapons because those things are small and light, unlike nuclear weapons for which this was originally designed," he said.
Boucher said the United States and its MTCR partners "welcome the growing number of countries which have publicly committed themselves to respect the MTCR guidelines and we call on all states to show a similar spirit of responsibility in the interests of international peace and security."
"Virtually every rocket or UAV, which is an unmanned air vehicle, is capable of carrying some type of weapon of mass destruction," Boucher told questioners, noting "there are many countries that produce and export those kinds of missiles."
He acknowledged there are other countries in the world that have said that they will adhere and abide by the guidelines. "Certainly we are encouraging all countries -- all potential producers" to do so, the spokesman said.
In curbing the proliferation of ballistic missiles, Boucher said, the MTCR partners are concerned about the actions of both companies and countries. There may be companies that are "capable of producing" these missiles or their major components which might be more interested in making money than they are concerned about chemical and biological weapons proliferation, he said.
By implementing these guidelines through legislation, "the governments of the countries where these kinds of products and capabilities are generally produced give themselves the means to control that through their national legislation and their law enforcement authority," he said, "and we do indeed arrest people for illegally trying to export things to places where they shouldn't go."
Noting that China has said it would adhere to the original MTCR guidelines, Boucher told reporters "we have discussed these new things with China as well." Asked if China will adhere to the expanded regime, he replied: "That would be something that China would have to say. I can't say that, no."
"We and our partners are publicly calling on all countries to adhere to or abide by the guidelines," Boucher said. "Certainly that is something that we will be discussing with individual governments." The new guidelines took effect January 7.