BlueHummingbird News - Archive

News Articles: National Missile Defense (NMD) and Foreign Policy

                        posted: 06:24 pm ET, 06 September 2000

                        Russia's Putin Calls for Ban on Weapons in Space
                          UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin
                        on Wednesday called upon world leaders to come to Moscow
                        for a conference to ban the militarization of space -- a challenge
                        to any American plan to build an antimissile defense system.
                        Addressing the Millennium Summit at the United Nations, Putin
                        described the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty as a "foundation"
                        of the entire nuclear arms control. "Particularly alarming are the
                        plans for the militarization of space," Putin said. ...

From US Newswire (in entirety):
                        WASHINGTON, Jan. 2 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was
                        released today by Physicians For Social Responsibility:

                        Leaving rhetoric about a bipartisan administration and
                        claims of being a 'uniter, not a divider' in the dust,
                        President-Elect George W. Bush has disregarded the
                        recent election results and the American public which
                        favored Vice President Al Gore, Jr. His naming of
                        arch-conservatives past and present to his cabinet will
                        cease and reverse progress made for the last decade on
                        key environmental, disarmament and violence prevention
                        "From John Ashcroft and Gale Norton to Tommy Thompson
                        and even on to Christine Todd Whitman, President-Elect
                        Bush has assembled a wrecking crew to tear down the
                        valuable progress we've made toward a safer world," said
                        Robert K. Musil, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO of
                        Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). "Key
                        policies like continued support from the Departments of
                        Justice and Heath and Human Services for initiatives to
                        protect us from handgun violence and the Environmental
                        Protection Agency's concern for regulating public health
                        threats will be rolled back under these unsuitable
                        cabinet selections."
                        President-Elect Bush's selection of former Secretary of
                        Defense Donald Rumsfeld, whose revolving-door
                        connections to the military-industrial complex and
                        opposition to any meaningful disarmament efforts are
                        well documented, is a major disaster. Rumsfeld, unless
                        opposed, will help launch a new arms race by pursuing
                        the National Missile Defense program. Rumsfeld also
                        announced that he will pursue a system to defend our
                        space-based assets, opening new avenues for reckless
                        military spending and dangerous international
                        "To name as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who
                        testified against the chemical weapons convention, who
                        opposed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, who opposed
                        the SALT II arms agreement, who lobbied for the B-2
                        Bomber and the MX Missile, is to wish this count(r)y
                        back into its darkest times," said Musil. "America
                        doesn't need to relive the Cold War. We were lucky to
                        survive it the first time through."
                        --- PSR, which represents 22,000 physicians and health
                        professionals nationwide and won the Nobel Peace Prize
                        in 1985, will oppose the confirmation of a number of
                        Bush cabinet-designees, focusing particularly on
                        Attorney General designee Ashcroft, Secretary of the
                        Interior designee Norton and Secretary of Health and
                        Human Services designee Thompson.
                        Remarks as Delivered By Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld,                             Munich, Germany, Saturday, February 3, 2001
                        "...the United States intends to develop and deploy a
                        missile defense designed to defend our people and forces
                        against a limited ballistic missile attack, and is
                        prepared to assist friends and allies threatened by
                        missile attack to deploy such defenses. ..."

                        Rumsfeld Vows to Share Missile Shield
                        By Charles Aldinger, Reuters News Agency
                        posted: 11:18 am ET, 05 February 2001
                        "A system of defense need not be perfect. But the
                        American people must not be left completely
                        defenseless," Rumsfeld said.
                        "The United States intends to develop and deploy a
                        missile defense designed to defend our people and forces
                        against a limited ballistic missile attack, and is
                        prepared to assist friends and allies threatened by
                        missile attack to deploy such defenses." ...
                        Several European leaders say the ABM Treaty, which
                        Rumsfeld in December called "ancient history," is a
                        bedrock of nuclear arms control and are worried
                        Washington will abandon it.

                        Russian Security Official Warns U.S. Against National Missile Defense
                        By Colleen Barry, Associated Press
                        posted: 10:06 am ET, 05 February 2001
                        MUNICH, Germany (AP) -- A top Russian security official,
                        Sergei Ivanov, sternly warned the new Bush
                        administration Sunday that a planned U.S. national
                        missile defense system would trigger a new arms race
                        that would eventually extend into space. Ivanov, one of
                        President Vladimir Putin's closest advisers and
                        secretary of his powerful security council, told an
                        international security conference of defense ministers
                        and experts that the system would by definition abolish
                        the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). "And the
                        destruction of the ABM treaty, we are quite confident,
                        will result in the annihilation of the whole structure
                        of strategic stability and create prerequisites for a
                        new arms race -- including one in space.'' ...
                        Russia and the United States expressed clearly different
                        views on the 1972 ABM Treaty during the weekend
                        conference. Ivanov said the importance of the treaty
                        "has not faded.'' ...
                        Rumsfeld, who returned to Washington Saturday, called it
                        "ancient history.'' ...
                        U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell echoed Rumsfeld's
                        remarks Sunday, saying the United States is committed to
                        pursuing a national missile defense system, which could
                        mean abandoning the ABM Treaty.

                       Russia Says Leave ABM Treaty Alone, Missile Defense Won't Work
                        By Yuri Karash, Moscow Contributing Correspondent
                        posted: 07:00 am ET, 12 February 2001
                        MOSCOW -- Russia is ready to match any new missile
                        defense technology developed by the United States if the
                        latter violates the terms of 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile
                        treaty, according to Russian Defense Minister Marshall
                        Igor Sergeev. ...
                        Sergeev said that Russian politicians and military
                        experts don't believe that any new U.S. anti-missile
                        technologies will really be effective in terms of
                        protecting the American homeland from missile attack.

2/26/2001  Russia Warns Sternly Against U.S. Antimissile Shield
                        Putin Readying Diplomatic and Military Countermeasures
                        MOSCOW, Feb. 5 - Russia's response to the Bush
                        administration's confirmation this weekend of the U.S.
                        plan to press ahead with its national missile defense
                        (NMD) shield was swift and stern.  Moscow's security
                        chief, Sergei Ivanov, startled American senators and top
                        NATO officials gathered at an international security
                        conference in Munich on Sunday (Feb. 4) with a hard-line
                        statement that said no to NATO enlargement, no to the
                        Bush administration plans for missile defenses, and
                        warned the West not to push Russia too hard over its
                        Sounding like a Soviet official during the Cold War,
                        according to a Feb. 5 UPI wire report said, the fluent
                        English-speaking Ivanov spoke in Russian to denounce the
                        Bush administration's plan to proceed with a national
                        anti-missile defense system (NMD).  The Russian official
                        then outraged the U.S. entourage when he accused NATO of
                        inflicting on Europe "an ecological disaster comparable
                        to Chernobyl" in its use of depleted uranium bullets
                        during the air war in Kosovo, the UPI said.
                        "We oppose them because they undermine the basis of
                        global strategic stability. Deployment of NMD by
                        definition would make the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
                        useless. And the destruction of this treaty -- we are
                        quite positive about this -- will result in the
                        annihilation of the whole structure of strategic
                        stability and create prerequisites for a new arms race,
                        including in outer space," Ivanov said.
                        Ivanov's remarks came in response to "the Bush
                        Administration's maiden voyage into the choppy waters of
                        trans-Atlantic relations," as the Sydney Morning Herald
                        put it on Feb. 5, citing the Los Angeles Times as
                        source.  The new U.S. defense secretary, Donald
                        Rumsfeld, put European allies on notice that the
                        Pentagon will press ahead with a national missile
                        defense despite their objections. 
                        Story at:

2/28/2001  Russian perspective by Linda DeLaine at (forum closed)
                        "What the American militarists are doing at the start of
                        the new administration's activity is a challenge to
                        international security and the entire world community,"
                        said Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, chief of the Russian
                        Defense Ministry, as reported by AP on Feb. 16, 2001,
                        following the U.S. and British bombing raid on Bagdad,
                        Iraq. This sentiment was echoed by Egypt and NATO
                        allies, France and Turkey. .....
                        Ivashov told ITAR-TASS that, "If the system is set up, we
                        will regard it as the advance echelon for intercepting
                        Russian strategic missiles. Americans will be, as it
                        were, shielding themselves from Russian rockets with
                        Europe in this multi-layer defense . . . Russia reserves
                        the right to adopt corresponding conclusions and steps
                        to guard its own security." ...
                        Deputy head of General Headquarters, Col. Gen. Valery
                        Manilov, was recently quoted by Reuters as saying, "The
                        modernization the Americans are talking about would, in
                        essence, take all the substance out of the ABM Treaty
                        and make nonsense of [its primary] aim "that is, to
                        maintain a balance between strategic offensive and
                        defensive arms,"adding that any change to this balance
                        would "unavoidably lead to an arms race. It is the
                        general opinion of Russian officials that the NMD would
                        basically nullify START II and end any attempts to
                        ratify START III."
                        Russia suspends dismantling weapons
                        A response to Bush's campaign for missile defense system
               NBC NEWS
                        MOSCOW, March 11   Russian President Vladimir Putin
                        suspended the dismantling of nuclear warheads called for
                        under the START II treaty with the United States on
                        President Bush's inauguration day, NBC News has learned.
                        And Russian officials insist that Moscow will end
                        cooperation on nuclear disarmament if Washington presses
                        forward with plans to build a national missile defense
                        "IF THE NMD (national missile defense) is deployed in
                        the United States, we will have to forget about
                        reductions of strategic offensive weapons," said Yuri
                        Kapralov, director of Russian Security and Disarmament.
                               Russia also has rolled out its counter-threat,
                        the Topol-M missile. Although it is ostensibly a
                        single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile,
                        experts believe it could be converted to carry several
                        warheads, which would violate the Start II agreement.
                               Under the arms-reduction pact, which the United
                        States and Russia signed in 1993, both countries
                        committed to eliminating missiles with more than one
                                "The Topol-M already has the capability to
                        overcome any anti-missile defense," said Gen. Vladimir
                        Yakovlev, commander of Russia's rocket forces. He added
                        that the next move was up to the United States.

                        HIGH-STAKES BATTLE
                               In the high-stakes game of sword vs. missile
                        shield, Putin has mounted a diplomatic offensive,
                        arguing that North Korea and Iran are not as great a
                        threat as argued by the United States. He's even
                        proposed a limited missile defense plan for Europe.
                                "The 1972 ABM treaty is like an axis to which a
                        whole series of international security agreements is
                        attached," Putin said last week. "As soon as we pull out
                        this axis, all of them will automatically fall apart.
                        The whole of today's international security system will
                               Former President Mikhail Gorbachev who
                        confronted the Reagan administration's campaign on
                        behalf of the "Star Wars" defense shield has warned
                        that the U.S. system would spark a new arms race
                        new spiral of militarization with unpredictable
                               Critics say the Kremlin is reverting to
                        Soviet-era tactics, using the missile shield to try to
                        drive a wedge between Washington and its European
                        allies. But the Russians counter that the real risk is
                        to advances made through arms control over the past
                        three decades.

3/12/2001  From MSNBC News Services, also Reuters:
                        Russia to resume arms sales to Iran
                          Putin rejects U.S. pressure to block defense deal

                        MOSCOW, March 12 Russian President Vladimir Putin said
                        Monday that Moscow would proceed with its controversial
                        arms sales to Iran but supplies would be solely to
                        ensure Tehran's defense needs. For economic reasons,
                        Russia is interested in (military) cooperation, Putin
                        told reporters after talks in the Kremlin with Iranian
                        President Mohammad Khatami.  .....
                        The daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted officials from
                        Russia's arms export agency as saying shipments could
                        include spare parts for BMP-1 and BTW-80 armored
                        vehicles and T-62 and T-72 tanks. It said parts could
                        also be supplied for Su-24, Su-25 and MiG-29 aircraft
                        and three types of helicopter.
                        The daily said in future Russia could sell Iran
                        unspecified armor, tactical missiles and diesel-powered
                        Putin also said Russia would proceed with work to
                        complete construction of a nuclear power station in the
                        Iranian Gulf port of Bushehr, a project denounced by
                        Washington on grounds that it could enable Iran to
                        produce nuclear weapons.  ....
                        General Leonid Ivashov, who looks after foreign ties at
                        the Defense Ministry, said cooperation reflected common
                        interests in fighting terrorism, dealing with
                        Afghanistan's hard-line Taliban rulers and ensuring
                        stability in ex-Soviet Central Asia.
                        We have a mutual interest in training specialists and
                        restoring Russian equipment in Iran...," Ivashov told
                        RTR state television late on Sunday.
                        The Americans are present in the (Iranian) market.
                        U.S.-made aircraft are in the air, supplies are
                        available through third parties and third countries
                        while Russian planes stand idle because we impeccably
                        observed the accords."  ...
                        Putin and Khatami have emphasized boosting relations to
                        offset U.S. global dominance. Russian companies hope the
                        visit will lead to orders for oil rigs needed to explore
                        Iran's oil and natural gas resources.

                        From Reuters' Ron Popeski:
                        "Russia and Iran had made clear in advance that they
                        intended to pursue military cooperation. Both are
                        interested in diversifying alliances to offset U.S.
                        influence in the region."

3/18/2001  The Seattle Times Company
                        Editorials & Opinion : Wednesday, March 14, 2001
                        Guest columnist
                        Bush should tone down national missile defense
                        By Peter H. Rose
                        Special to The Times

3/18/2001  At PioneerPlanet
                        Published: Thursday, March 15, 2001
                        China seeks dialogue over missile defense
                        In his first remarks to reporters since the Bush
                        administration took office two months ago pledging to
                        pursue plans for a national missile defense system,
                        China's top arms control negotiator refrained Wednesday
                        from making threats and instead said he hopes to resolve
                        the contentious issue through dialogue. ``China does not
                        want to see a confrontation between China and the U.S.
                        over the NMD issue nor an arms race between the two
                        countries,'' said Sha Zukang, director general of the
                        Foreign Ministry's department of arms control and
                        disarmament. ``We hope the U.S. will give up the idea,
                        just as they've done with . . . Star Wars,'' he said.

3/18/2001  Evansville Courier & Press Thursday, March 15, 2001
                        China makes it very clear: Don't build missile shield

                        Los Angeles Times

                        In advance of its first direct contact with
                        President Bush, the Chinese government Wednesday
                        reiterated in sharp language its warning to the United
                        States not to pursue plans for a national missile
                        defense shield.
                        Sha Zukang, China's top arms-control negotiator, said
                        such plans would touch off an arms race and upset the
                        delicate global strategic balance that took years to
                        "The development of NMD is tantamount to drinking poison
                        to quench thirst," Sha told reporters, referring to the
                        proposed defense system by its initials. "It will
                        undercut the very foundation of the international
                        nonproliferation regime and even stimulate further
                        proliferation of missiles."
                        China's growing concerns over how the missile shield
                        will affect East Asia's security picture were mirrored
                        Wednesday by North Korea, which stepped up its own
                        rhetoric, arguing that the U.S. cannot justify building
                        the system "under the absurd pretext of a threat from
                        North Korea."

                        Russia Repeats Call To Ban Space Weapons

                        By Reuters News Agency
                        posted: 03:24 pm ET
                        22 March 2001
                        GENEVA (Reuters) - Russia reiterated on Thursday an
                        appeal for a global ban on weapons in outer space and
                        called for dialogue on the issue next month. Western
                        diplomats said Russian ambassador Vasily Sidorov's
                        remarks to Thursday's United Nations Conference on
                        Disarmament were clearly directed at U.S. plans to
                        develop a National Missile Defense (NMD), but were sober
                        and moderate in tone. Sidorov told the 66-member-state
                        Arms Control Forum that top officials from more than 40
                        countries and international organizations were expected
                        at the International Conference on the Prevention of the
                        Militarization of Outer Space in Moscow from April
                        11-14. ...
                        Diplomats say that the United States is the only member
                        of the U.N. arms control forum to oppose launching
                        global negotiations to prevent an arms race in outer
                        space -- a key demand of countries including Russia,
                        China and Pakistan.

3/23/2001  International Herald Tribune
                              U.S. and Russia Escalate War of Words Over Arming
                              Rogue States

                              Patrick E. Tyler New York Times Service Wednesday,
                              March 21, 2001
                        ....."The interview marked the second time in recent
                        weeks that Mr. Rumsfeld had openly criticized Russia's
                        proliferation record. It comes as the administration of
                        President George W. Bush is said to be reviewing whether
                        to continue a policy of high-level engagement and
                        cooperation with Russia or to significantly downgrade
                        the relationship to both reflect Russia's diminished
                        status as a great power and show Washington's
                        disapproval of its opposition to American policy
                        initiatives in missile defense and nonproliferation.
                        "Russia is an active proliferator," Mr. Rumsfeld said in
                        remarks to Winston S. Churchill, grandson of the late
                        British prime minister, who conducted the tape-recorded
                        interview at the Pentagon. "It has been providing
                        countries with assistance in these areas in ways that
                        complicate the problem for the United States and Western
                        Europe" and "we all have to live with the results of
                        that proliferation." .....
                        For the first time publicly, Mr. Rumsfeld indicated that
                        the Pentagon was now considering a much broader missile
                        defense system that could attack "rogue" missiles
                        shortly after they were launched, in midflight and as
                        they re-entered the atmosphere.
                        The defense secretary told Mr. Churchill that Pentagon
                        planners were studying these missile defense schemes
                        "unconstrained" by the 1972 treaty that bans them.
                        "Eventually one would anticipate that you would have
                        something that would not be a single system but a
                        layered system with flexibility and some redundancy,"
                        Mr. Rumsfeld said.

3/24/2001  Weekly Defense Monitor
                        Center for Defense Information
                        Redefining Terms -- Taking the "N" Out of Missile Defense
                        Colonel Daniel Smith, USA (Ret.), Chief of Research,
                        "...To overcome the opposition, especially in those
                        countries in which the U.S. hopes to build or upgrade
                        existing radars (Greenland, Britain, South Korea), the
                        Bush Administration decided to modify the terminology
                        from "national" to "allied" missile defense. When that
                        failed to have the desired effect, the Administration
                        went a step further and abolished the modifier
                        altogether. Henceforth, all references to the program
                        will be simply "missile defense." ...
                        "...Whether any allies change position, the minimalist
                        rhetoric now in vogue may be tested soon if the
                        uniformed services sense the new terminology will affect
                        their theater programs and the money that goes with
                        them. Right now, theater missile defense programs garner
                        larger budgets overall than NMD, which is under
                        centralized DoD control. If Mr. Rumsfeld isn't averse to
                        dumping rhetorical distinctions, might he also not be
                        adverse to dumping programmatic distinctions and
                        separate bureaucracies under the guise of saving money
                        and harmonizing development efforts?
                        Of course, collapsing all missile defense programs under
                        centralized management would meet with some powerful
                        congressional opposition, particularly if it means a
                        loss of jobs and contracts. The Administration may be
                        able to take the "N" out of missile defense, but it will
                        have trouble taking the "P" out of pork. "

                        U.S. Continues to Dominate World Military Expenditures
                        Christopher Hellman, Senior Analyst,
                        "...As the world's lone super power, it is not
                        surprising that the United States spends more on its
                        military than any other nation. What is surprising is
                        just how large the U.S. share of world military spending
                        actually is, and the fact that while defense budgets are
                        shrinking worldwide, U.S. military spending continues to
                        Consider the following. Russia, which has the second
                        largest military budget in the world, will spend roughly
                        one-sixth what the United States will, assuming its
                        economy can afford it. China, which has the third
                        largest military budget, recently announced that it
                        would increase its military spending by almost eighteen
                        percent. Yet the United States spends seven times what
                        China spends. ...
                        Some facts about U.S. military spending:
                          World military spending, which was $1.2 trillion in
                          1985, stood at $809 billion in 1999. During that
                          period, the U.S. share of global military spending
                          continued to increase, going from 30% in 1985 to 36%
                          in 1999.
                          The U.S. military budget is more than twenty-two times
                          as large as the combined spending of the seven
                          countries traditionally identified by the Pentagon as
                          our most likely adversaries ­- Cuba, Iran, Iraq,
                          Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria ­- which together
                          spend just over $14 billion annually.
                          The United States and its close allies ­- the NATO
                          nations, South Korea, and Japan -­ spend more than the
                          rest of the world combined. Together they spend
                          thirty-seven times more than the seven rogue states.
                          The seven rogue nations, along with Russia and China,
                          together spend $116 billion, less than one-half the
                          U.S. military budget.
                          The United States alone spends more than the combined
                          spending of next twelve nations.

3/24/2001  From
                        S.Korea Says U.S. Asked for Support on Missile Shield
                        March 23, 2001 7:38 am EST

                        SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States asked for South
                        Korea's support for its controversial missile shield but
                        Seoul said it was maintaining a neutral position on the
                        issue, Foreign Minister Lee Joung-binn said on Friday.
                        "During the consultations to prepare for the Korea-U.S.
                        summit, the United States asked us to agree to their
                        plan to promote the National Missile Defense System
                        (NMD)," Lee told a policy forum hosted by the Korea
                        Press Foundation.
                        "We disagreed, however, and the White House later
                        announced it had not made any request or that South
                        Korea had expressed it support," Lee was quoted as
                        saying by the Korea Herald in its early Saturday
                        The South Korean foreign minister visited Washington
                        last month to prepare for President Kim Dae-jung's talks
                        with U.S. President George W. Bush on March 8. That is
                        when the request for support was apparently made. ...
                        Seoul appeared to side with Russia in opposing the
                        shield when the two countries issued a joint declaration
                        during a February visit by Russian President Vladimir
                        Putin, which said the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty
                        was "a cornerstone of strategic stability." ...
                        The foreign ministry later clarified that its support
                        for the ABM treaty did not translate into opposition to
                        the NMD.
                        The deputy spokesman for the foreign press at the
                        foreign ministry, Kim Euy-taek, said the foreign
                        minister did not intend to convey any opposition to the
                        missile shield plan.
                        "Our position is that it's inappropriate to discuss it
                        at this time," he told Reuters.

3/25/2001  South Korea, from AP:
                        The United States asked for South Korea's support for
                        its controversial missile shield but Seoul said it was
                        maintaining a neutral position on the issue, Foreign
                        Minister Lee Joung-binn said on Friday.

3/25/2001  From article at The New York Times:
                        March 24, 2001 
                        "News Analysis: U.S. Policy on Russia" A Tougher Stance
                        By JANE PERLEZ
                        WASHINGTON, March 23 The Bush administration has not
                        articulated a broad policy toward Russia, but in
                        thoughts and deeds it has taken a sharp departure from
                        the engagement policies of its predecessor, moving
                        toward isolating Russia and its president, Vladimir V.
                        In its first two months, despite a lack of crises before
                        this week's tit- for-tat spy expulsions, the
                        administration has shown apparent disdain for Russia by
                        insisting that it will move ahead on missile defense
                        regardless of Moscow's objections, by rebuffing the
                        suggestion of a summit meeting and showing an
                        inclination to downgrade the status of Russia as a world
                        Gone are the Clinton administration's attempts to
                        transform Russia into a modern state and its "win- win"
                        view of the Washington-Moscow relationship.
                        Instead, as relations appear to reach their lowest ebb
                        since the end of the cold war, the Bush foreign policy
                        team has designated Russia as a damaging proliferator of
                        weapons, accusing it of selling arms for profit to
                        countries like Iran while squandering billions of
                        dollars of Western aid.   ......"

3/25/2001  The Salt Lake Tribune
                              Bush's Policy: No Cold War Yet, But Quite Nippy
                              Friday, March 23, 2001
                                BY ROBERT BURNS
                              THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
                        "...    "This administration came in with an extremely
                        different view of the world" than the Clinton
                        administration's national security team, said Daniel
                        Goure, who was an adviser to the Bush campaign on
                        defense and foreign policy issues. "They do not see
                        America's role as creating a like-minded community of
                        nations," and so are not following Clinton's approach of
                        closely engaging Moscow and Beijing. ...."

3/29/2001  Global Issues - Arms Control

                         3/29/2001  From AP at yahoo
                        Wednesday March 28 9:15 PM ET
                        U.S. Warned in Anti-Missile Defense
                        TOKYO (AP) - North Korea's state-run
                        media on Wednesday accused the United States and Japan
                        of boosting joint development of Washington's proposed
                        anti-missile defense system, saying that could push the
                        North to respond with force.
                        ``If they continue to provoke military confrontation
                        with North Korea - following this path to war - we will
                        have no option but to respond with firm resolve,'' said
                        the commentary on the North's official Korean Central
                        News Agency. It was monitored in Tokyo by the Radiopress
                        News Agency.
                        The threat followed an accusation on Tuesday that the
                        United States has been trying to derail rapprochement
                        between South and North Korea as a prelude to war
                        between the divided neighbors. ....

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