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Missile System Affects China's Security
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Despite claims to the contrary Australia's plans to join a ballistic missile defense system will certainly affect China's security and may be targeted at the nation, warn analysts.

Australia said on Tuesday that it is considering taking part in the US and Japan's missile defense system, to counter new threats including Pyongyang's missile arsenal. The announcement followed diplomats' carefully stressing that the system was not designed to check Chinese influence.

But Zhang Qinsheng, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, had already made China's opposition to the missile defense system clear at the Asia Security Summit in Singapore last week, pointing out that with the system covering Taiwan it would bring instability to Asia.

Jin Linbo, a scholar with the China Institute of International Studies, said the system would definitely affect China.

"We cannot regard it as a defensive system just because that's what it is called," Jin told China Daily. "Since ancient times both spears and shields have been regarded as weapons in Chinese culture - because shields can make spears useless.

"In this regard, worries about the missile defense system are the same as concerns about other weapons."

Researcher Pan Zheng, of the PLA University of National Defense, questioned Australia's motives for cooperating in the missile system.

"The six-party talks (on Pyongyang's nuclear program) have made great progress and are still working towards a brighter future. Meanwhile the US and North Korea have established channels for direct high-level dialogue," said Pan, "I cannot see the necessity for military expansion targeting North Korea at this time.

"In my opinion, it is more focused on curbing China."

(China Daily June 8, 2007)

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