President George W. Bush called Chinese President Jiang Zemin on Thursday about his decision for the United States to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the White House said.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the talks with Jiang were part of foreign consultations on the decision, including talks this week with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, French President Jacques Chirac and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
China, which has a relatively small nuclear arsenal, has opposed US withdrawal from the treaty, which bars Washington from developing a missile defence system that Bush believes is vital to US national security.
"The president this morning called President Jiang of China," Fleischer told reporters. "President Jiang said to the president he looked forward to further high-level dialogue about this topic."
The spokesman said some of the leaders that Bush spoke to appreciated his consulting them and acknowledged that he had said he would eventually move beyond the treaty. Fleischer declined to further discuss the reactions of Jiang or other leaders that Bush spoke to, saying their responses varied.
(China Daily December 14, 2001)