Shield aims to contain Beijing, says report

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2001, 12:00am

Beijing yesterday dismissed US promises that its proposed national missile defence shield (NMD) posed no threat, claiming it was designed to contain China and Russia.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a strong advocate of the plan, told the Munich Conference on Security at the weekend that Washington would go ahead with the proposal despite opposition from allies in Europe, who fear it will lead to a new arms race.

In a front-page story beside a photo of a grim-looking President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell next to a missile interceptor, the Global Times, published by the People's Daily, said: 'On the surface, those who propose NMD say that it is aimed at a small number of rogue nations, like Iran, North Korea, Iraq and Libya, but anyone whose eyes are open knows that its targets are China and Russia. Some Americans do not want to give up the Cold War mentality and retain a fierce hostility to the rise of China.

'In fact, in recent years, the target of many large-scale military exercises has been China. If you look at US military redeployment, its strategic centre is clearly turning toward Asia, with forces in Europe being gradually reduced and those in Asia increased,' the report said.

From January 22, more than 250 military personnel and technical specialists took part in a five-day war game in Colorado set in 2017, the first time the US had conducted a space war game, the newspaper said.

'At the start of the new millennium, the US is taking the lead to raise the curtain on a new round of arms spending,' the Global Times said. 'China, Russia and other peace-loving countries in the world must maintain their guard against this.'