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U.S. Protests China Missile Sale

Washington, May 22 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry says Washington has told Russia and Ukraine it opposes any effort by China to buy former Soviet missile technology from them.

Perry's comments are contained in an interview with the Washington Times newspaper published today. According to the newspaper, Perry said the U.S. is aware that China has requested components from the SS-18 missile. The newspaper quoted Perry as saying: "We think that is a very bad idea. We vigorously oppose and have vigorously opposed such transfers."

He says U.S. concerns were conveyed to Russia and Ukraine "at high levels," and he says specific recommendations were made to the Russian and Ukrainian governments. Perry says "more general" protests about the sale were made to the Chinese.

The SS-18 is a long range missile developed by the Soviet Union. It can carry ten nuclear warheads. Ukraine and Russia inherited Soviet missiles when the Soviet Union collapsed.