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China: Zemin, Putin Agree on Opposition to U.S. Missile Derfense

Beijing, 18 July 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Presidents Jiang Zemin of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia issued today in Beijing a joint statement opposing the proposed U.S. national missile defense system. A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry called the defense system plan a serious threat to the existing Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty that would lead to new international arms race.

Putin is in China for a two-day visit. He and Jiang also signed a series of bilateral cooperative agreements, including such topics as banking and energy development. Putin is to leave tomorrow for North Korea tomorrow, plans to be in Japan Friday to attend a summit of industrialized nations.

Jiang gave Putin a red carpet welcome today with a 21-gun salute at Tiananmen Square in. Afterwards, Putin and Jiang entered the parliament building for talks.

Putin arrived in Beijing late yesterday, starting a three-country Asian tour.