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Bush: US Must Move Beyond Constraints of ABM

US President George W. Bush said in Washington Tuesday that the United States must move beyond the constraints of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with Russia.

In a major speech at the National Defense University, Bush committed the United States to building a defense shield against ballistic missile attack, and indicated he would not allow a Cold War-era arms treaty to stand in the way.

"We need a new framework that allows us to build missile defenses to counter the different threats of today's world," Bush said.

The 1972 treaty ignored technological breakthroughs of the past 30 years and prohibited the United States from exploring options to defend itself against threats facing America and its allies, Bush claimed.

"That's why we should work together to replace this treaty with a new framework, that reflects a clear and clean break from the past, and especially from the adversarial legacy of the Cold War," he said.

Bush also said he was inclined to make unilateral cuts in nuclear weapons in a way that "reflects the reality that the Cold War is over."

Military experts said the ABM Treaty has served as a cornerstone of global strategic balance and stability since it was concluded. Even today, the treaty still provides a security framework for multilateral nuclear disarmament and for further bilateral reductions of nuclear arsenals by the United States and Russia.

(Xinhua 05/02/2001)

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