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Russia: Putin Cautions Against Revision Of Missile Treaty

Seoul, 28 February 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said today any attempts to violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty will lead to a "complete collapse of the entire system of strategic stability." He made the remark in a speech to South Korea's parliament in Seoul. Putin did not specifically mention the United States, but he has voiced opposition to a U.S. plan to build an anti-missile defense system.

Putin has said such a system would violate the ABM treaty between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union and would trigger an arms race.

Putin said today all international security treaties were based on the 1972 accord.

Putin's speech followed a joint communique yesterday with South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung which said the ABM treaty should be preserved and strengthened as a "cornerstone" of stability.

Yesterday, Putin had talks with South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung. The two leaders discussed political and economic relations and the improving ties between North and South Korea.

Putin urged the outside world to respond positively to North Korea's diplomatic push aimed at ending its isolation.

Later today, Putin will arrive in Vietnam. He will have talks tomorrow with President Tran Duc Luong aimed at rebuilding economic and security ties.

In an interview with RTR television yesterday, the Vietnamese president said Russia can play an important role in bringing peace and stability to Asia.

Relations between Russia and Vietnam suffered when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, but Putin has been trying to improve bilateral ties since he came to power.