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Russia: Jiang Says Treaty To Protect Global Security

Moscow, 17 July 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Chinese President Jiang Zemin says the new, 20-year friendship treaty between Russia and China is aimed at protecting global security. Jiang and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty yesterday, formalizing ties between the two nations following decades of Cold War rivalry.

Jiang told students at Moscow State University today that the goal of signing the treaty was to deepen mutual confidence.

He said if the two countries firmly and unfailingly implement the treaty, Russian-Chinese relations will be an example of friendship.

Putin and Jiang pledged in a joint statement yesterday that the two nations are not forming a military pact and that the treaty is not directed against third countries.

Jiang and Putin yesterday reiterated their nations' opposition to the U.S. plans to deploy a national missile-defense system. In his speech today, Jiang addressed the issue only indirectly.

Jiang is due to leave for Minsk later today.

Reaction from Washington says the United States is not concerned by a new friendship and cooperation pact between Russia and China.

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the Bush administration does not view the Russian-Chinese pact as a threat.

"We've felt that it's important for us to have good relations with Russia and with China, and we've always felt it's important for them to have good relations with each other. They have a long border in a key region, and it's important for them to get along. So we don't see it as any particular threat to us or to our plans."

Boucher also said the Bush administration plans to go forward with its missile defense plans, despite Russian and Chinese objections that such a step could destroy the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and lead to a new arms race. Boucher said the U.S. was still hoping for some type of agreement with Russia to permit U.S. missile defenses.