The United States will brief China on its plans to test a new missile defense system as the United States tries to convince other countries that the proposed shield is not a threat, the White House said on Sunday.
US officials will share information on their missile defense plans with the Chinese as part of an outreach effort in preparation for US President George W. Bush's trip to Beijing next month, said Sean McCormack, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
``This is part of the administration's outreach to China and other nations such as Russia to discuss with them the reason why we are developing a missile defense system and how it is designed to protect us from 'rogue nations' or accidental launches,'' White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said in a telephone interview.
``It is something we are hoping they will support because it is not aimed at China,'' he said. ``The president thinks it is important to consult with our allies and other nations.''
A missile shield, now in its early stages of development, would knock enemy missiles out of the sky before they reach the United States.
Fleischer denied that the Bush administration was courting China's support of the missile defense system in exchange for US acceptance of a nuclear or military buildup by Beijing, as reported in Sunday's New York Times.
The White House is pursuing missile defense ``separate and apart'' from the issue of expansion of China's limited arsenal of nuclear missiles, Fleischer said.
``China's position on missile defense is clear-cut and consistent,'' China's Foreign Ministry said in late August after Bush said the United States would withdraw a 1972 arms control treaty signed by Washington and Moscow. ``We hope the US government will seriously consider the position of the international community and proceed with caution.''
Fleischer said the system is intended to protect the United States and its allies from hostile nations with missile capabilities.
``Other nations have nothing to worry about from American development of a missile defense system,'' he said. ``It will protect the peace in the world ... when the real threat to peace are these rogue nations.''
Fleischer also said there was no change in US policy on the testing of nuclear weapons. ``We have no plans to resume testing,'' Fleischer said.
(China Daily 09/03/2001)