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Friday, May 11, 2001, updated at 16:35(GMT+8)

China Willing to Negotiate with US on TMD, NMD

China is willing to negotiate with the United States on the issue of the Theatre Missile Defence System (TMD) and the National Missile Defence System (NMD), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said in Beijing Thursday at a regular news briefing.

When asked for comments on what will happen if the US sends officials to Beijing to discuss the issue, Sun said that China, as always, is opposed to TMD and NMD.

Sun pointed out that the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) serves as the cornerstone of global strategic balance and stability, and the TMD and NMD initiatives will definitely ruin this balance and lead to another arms race.

The spokesman urged the US to adopt a cautious attitude toward the issue and observe the ABM and other related arms- control treaties and agreements.

China is willing to negotiate with the US on the issue if the US sends officials to China to discuss it, Sun said.

Missile defence plan criticized

Addressing threats to the Anti-ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty embodied in US plans for a theatre missile defence system (TMD), China re-emphasized China's firm opposition to the proposed missile shield.

"We believe the ABM treaty is the cornerstone of global strategic balance and stability," Sun Yuxi said at the press conference

"If such a treaty is undermined, the global strategic balance will be undermined, the international disarmament process will end, non-proliferation efforts will be obstructed and a new round of military arms races will commence."

China hopes the US will continue to abide by ABM and other existing international treaties on disarmament and arms control, he said.

"If the United States decides to send a special envoy here, we are willing to have consultations on the issue," Sun said.

Sun also revealed that China and the United States are planning to hold additional talks on the US EP-3E spy plane which has been sitting on a runway on Hainan Island since its collision with a Chinese fighter jet on April 1.

"The US plane will not be allowed to fly back, but this does not mean the plane will not be returned," Sun said. "What should be done to the plane will depend on the position of the US side."

When the US team was inspecting the plane last week, China presented them with evidence that shows responsibility for the collision lies fully with the US side.

Sun said China strongly opposes to the surveillance flights of the US side near China's coast. "If they continue to conduct such flights, we will continue to make protests," he explained.

The spokesman said the interception and following of US spy planes by Chinese jets is "necessary and very reasonable" and not without precedent in international practice.

Sun repeated China's request that the United States stop such flights to avoid the recurrence of a similar incident in the future.

When asked to comment on the recent failure of the United States to get re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Sun said the Chinese Government advocates dialogue and opposes confrontation on the issue of human rights.

"We are ready to continue our dialogue and co-operation with all countries, including the United States, to improve our human rights record and to make our contribution," Sun said.

On the recent territorial tension between China and the Philippines centred on the South China Sea, Sun claimed the two nations are still "friendly neighbours" and the disputes could be resolved through friendly consultations.

"We hope the Philippines will resist taking any unilateral action that will further complicate the situation so as to guarantee the maintenance of friendly relations between the two countries," Sun said.

In other foreign news, the Republic of Korean (ROK) Government on May 8 reportedly demanded the Japanese Government revise a recently approved history textbook which distorts accounts of atrocities committed during World War II and presented specific proposals for changes.

Sun expressed China's support for the ROK's effort to get the textbooks changed.

"The history textbook concocted by Japanese right-wing scholars glosses over history and still contains numerous distortions despite large numbers of changes.

"China has pointed out major fallacies in the book through diplomatic channels and urged the Japanese side to correct the mistakes and remove negative impact.

"We have taken note the Japanese Government once indicated that the viewpoint of the book does not represent the position of Japanese Government," the spokesman said. "We hope the Japanese side will seriously consider and deal with the solemn position and rational demands of China and its Asian neighbours and match the statement on its past history with actual changes."

In This Section

China is willing to negotiate with the United States on the issue of the Theatre Missile Defence System (TMD) and the National Missile Defence System (NMD), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said in Beijing Thursday at a regular news briefing.

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