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China angered by U.S. missile tests

Chinese soldiers
China believes NMD represents US dominance  

By CNN's Lisa Rose Weaver

BEIJING (CNN) -- China's Foreign Ministry has responded harshly to a fourth U.S. anti-missile defense test over the weekend in the Pacific.

"The Chinese position is that the United States [by carrying out the test] is opposing international concerns and opposition to NMD (National Missile Defense)," a Foreign Ministry spokesman told CNN.

"The U.S. insisted on developing anti-missile defense systems in violation of the (1972) Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty. It is not favorable to a global strategic balance and stability."

US and China: Eagle meets Dragon  

"We urge the U.S. side to fully consider the opinions and concerns of other countries and adopt prudent measures on this issue," he added.

The test was conducted late Saturday when a target missile equipped with a mock warhead was launched from Vandenberg AFB in California. Twenty minutes later, the interceptor missile was launched from an island in the Pacific 4,800 miles (7,725 kilometers) away and the two collided in an explosion 150 miles above the ocean.

'Expensive' technology

Saturday's test was the fourth test of the missile intercept system. Two previous tests have failed. A fifth test is planned for October. A failure Saturday would have emboldened critics who say the technology doesn't work and too is expensive.

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China's criticism of the test over the Marshall Islands was reflected in an editorial in the English language China Daily. Beijing has been opposed to NMD since its inception, and has emphasized the opposition of other countries as well.

"In a bid to assuage anti-NMD sentiment from the international community, Washington deliberately played down the significance of the test this time, saying it is only one of a long series of tests," said the editorial.

China's opposition to National Missile Defense and Theater Missile Defense (TMD) is not new. Beijing's reaction has tended to be more polarized and leaves less room for compromise than Russia's position, or that of the European powers which are also ambivalent about US plans for a missile defense system.

One reason Beijing's views are extreme is an international outlook increasingly based on a perception that NMD represents United States dominance.

Another reason is that the regionalized version of NMD -- Theater Missile Defense -- worries Beijing because of the potential that TMD could protect Taiwan from Chinese missiles pointed at it.

Global strategic balance

The Beijing government clearly spelled out its opposition to NMD in a March speech by Ambassador Sha Zukang of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Arms Control and Disarmament.

"Firstly, the U.S. NMD program will jeopardize the global strategic balance and stability, and undermine the mutual trust and cooperation among major powers. This will undoubtedly arouse suspicion and mistrust among major powers, hampering their coordination and cooperation in international security affairs," he said.

"Secondly, the U.S. NMD program will hamper the international arms control and disarmament process and even trigger a new round of arms race."

"Thirdly, the U.S. NMD program will undermine the international non-proliferation regime and efforts. The U.S. claims that its development of missile defense systems is intended to counter the increasing threats posed by missile proliferation."

"NMD is not conducive to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. The implementation of NMD program by the U.S. will not only undermine global strategic balance and stability, but also disrupt efforts for security in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.

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