China urged the United States on Friday to proceed with caution in response to a statement by US President George W. Bush that Washington would withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty "on our timetable".
"We hope the United States government would give careful consideration to the opinions of the international community, and proceed with caution," a spokesman at the Foreign Ministry told reporters.
Bush told reporters in Texas the accord hampered US ability to keep the peace because it prohibited deployment of a missile defence shield -- which Beijing opposes.
"We will withdraw from the ABM treaty on our timetable at a time convenient to America," Bush said.
Bush said he had no specific timetable in mind but added that Washington would continue to consult closely with its allies in Europe and with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"We are aware of relevant reports. China's position on the question of missile defence has been clear and consistent," said the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.
China has warned that any change to the ABM treaty could spark a global arms race.