- America's deployment of a national missile defence system
could prompt a huge nuclear build-up by China and a furious response from
its European allies, a leaked US intelligence report warns.
- The classified document says that if the US proceeds
with the plan for a national missile defence shield, China could increase
its nuclear arsenal tenfold, triggering buildups in India and Pakistan.
- Russia is unlikely to embark on a large-scale nuclear
buildup through lack of funds, but could instead add multiple warheads
to its ballistic missiles, the report adds. The document, compiled by
the US intelligence agencies, gives warning of a European outcry if the
system, intended as a defence against attacks from rogue states, is put
in place without Russia's agreement.
- The study, the work of the CIA, Defence Intelligence
Agency and State Department Bureau of Intelligence, concludes that China
is already planning to increase its 20 single-warhead intercontinental
missiles and that the national missile defence system could prompt Beijing
to try to develop 200 warheads - enough firepower to overwhelm the US missile
defence, which is designed to protect against only a dozen rockets.
- President Clinton, who received the report this week,
said he would take into account four main factors before making a decision:
the urgency of the missile threat, the cost of building the defensive shield,
the feasibility of the project and the implications for US foreign policy,
including responses from other nations.
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