DATE=11/12/1999 TYPE=EDITORIAL TITLE=EDITORIAL: MEETING THE MISSILE THREAT NUMBER=0-08531 CONTENT= THIS IS THE FIRST OF TWO EDITORIALS BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 11/15/99. Anncr: The Voice of America presents differing points of view on a wide variety of issues. Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: In the next fifteen years, the United States may well face the threat of missile attacks from such states as North Korea and Iran, and possibly Iraq. As one element in meeting these possible threats, the U.S. is developing a system to defend against long-range ballistic missiles. The U.S. has not made a decision to deploy a national missile defense system. President Bill Clinton will decide no earlier than next summer, based on considerations of technical readiness, threat, cost, and security, including arms control objectives. If a decision to deploy is made next year, the first phase of a national missile defense system could be in place by 2005. As planned, it would be capable of defending all fifty U.S. states against the launch of a few tens of North Korean warheads. It would also provide a defense against a limited attack of a few warheads launched from the Middle East. Later phases of the system would provide protection against a greater Middle East threat. One factor still under consideration is the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty between the U.S. and Russia. In the U.S. view, a limited defense system is fully compatible with the fundamental purpose of the A-B-M treaty. That purpose is not to ban defenses altogether, but to ensure that each side's strategic deterrent is not undermined by the missile defenses of the other side. Russia currently has the world's only operational A-B-M system, as allowed by the A-B-M treaty. The U.S. believes that the A-B-M treaty can be modified to permit deployment of a limited national missile defense - by the U.S. and by Russia, too, if it wants to guard against similar threats from rogue states. And the treaty itself, as presidents Clinton and Boris Yeltsin have both pointed out, provides for consideration of changes in the strategic situation, and possible changes to the treaty to maintain its viability. In recent discussions, the U.S. has put forward a number of ideas for practical cooperation with Russia on missile defense. While Russia has so far not been receptive, the U.S. continues to pursue negotiated changes so that the A-B-M treaty can be preserved with an option to deploy a national missile defense system. The U.S. believes that a cooperative approach on national missile defense and the A-B-M treaty will provide benefits to both U.S. and Russian security. Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-voa-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. 12-Nov-1999 14:41 PM EDT (12-Nov-1999 1941 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .