Tue, October 13, 2009
China > China & World > Russian PM Putin visits China

Missile pact a potential breakthrough

2009-10-13 10:03:11 GMT2009-10-13 18:03:11 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

A missile pact expected to be signed between China and Russia today, in which both sides will notify each other of ballistic missile launch plans, represents a major breakthrough in bilateral ties, experts said yesterday.

The agreement, however, will have little impact on China's national security, experts noted.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is slated to sign the contract during his visit this week, the Agence France-Presse reported on Sunday, quoting a Russian governmental statement.

The deal, if signed, will be the first of its kind for China and Russia.

Li Daguang, a military expert at Beijing-based National Defense University, said only "very friendly countries" would notify each other on ballistic missile launch plans, which is "a core national secret".

Establishing a notification system represents a stronger basis of political and military trust between both countries, Li said.

The United States and the former Soviet Union, in 1971 during the Cold War, signed a deal that required notification of ballistic missile launches extending beyond their national territories and directed toward each nation.

Washington and Moscow extended beyond the accords by signing the "Memorandum of Understanding on Missile Launch Notification" in late 2000.

But Zhai Dequan, deputy director of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said China "won't sign such an offensive agreement", which goes against its defensive national security policy.

The Foreign Ministry had no comment yesterday.

Li Bin, a professor on arms control at Beijing-based Tsinghua University, said the agreement is "very important" to Russia, "but not to China".

"Russia wants to spread such accord to the whole world, as the country would then gain more bargain chips in ongoing disarmament talks with the US," he said.

Beijing would "pay no price" if it inked the agreement with Russia, which "has little concrete impact on China's national security", Li Bin said.

"For the sake of furthering Sino-Russian ties, (signing the agreement) is not bad," he added.

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