Title: "Missile Technology Controls Strengthened." The US urges all countries to join the effort to prevent the further spread of weapons of mass destruction and the missiles
that carry them by signing on to the newly-revised Missile Technology Control Regime. (930114)
Translated Title: Aumentan controles de tecnologia misilistica. (930114)
MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROLS STRENGTHENED
(VOA Editorial) (440) (Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America January 14, reflecting the views of the U.S. government.)
People around the world have long been aware of the dangers posed by the spread of nuclear weapons, as well as the missiles that can deliver them. Two years ago, it became clear during the Persian Gulf war that missiles without nuclear warheads can also be a serious threat. For several weeks during that war, millions of people in Israel and Saudi Arabia lived in constant fear of Iraqi Scud missile attacks. The Iraqi missile attacks killed a number of innocent civilians and caused significant destruction. Had those missiles been armed with either chemical or biological weapons, the death toll would have been devastating.
Following the Gulf War, the United States and other countries realized that they needed to enlarge the scope of the Missile Technology Control Regime. The Missile Technology Control Regime, or MTCR, was formed in 1987 by the United States and six other countries to control the spread of missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Today the MTCR includes 22 countries and they recently revised the MTCR guidelines. The guidelines have been expanded to control the spread of missiles intended to carry all types of weapons of mass destruction -- chemical and biological weapons as well as the nuclear weapons that were the original focus of the MTCR.
As provided in the original guidelines, the United States and its MTCR partners will continue to restrain the transfer of missiles capable of carrying payloads of 500 kilograms a distance of at least 300 kilometers. Under the revised guidelines, countries adhering to the MTCR will subject to a strong presumption of denial the transfer of any missiles, regardless of their payload and range, which are judged to be intended to carry any weapon of mass destruction, not just nuclear weapons.
The United States welcomes the growing number of countries which are not MTCR partners but which have pledged to adhere to the Missile Technology Control Regime. Two major countries which are not MTCR partners are Russia and China. Last year, China said it would adhere to the guidelines, and the United States has urged China to indicate its support for the revised guidelines. Russia has said that its proliferation controls will be consistent with the MTCR, but Russia has not agreed to adhere to the guidelines. The United States urges these and other countries to join the effort to prevent the further spread of weapons of mass destruction and the missiles that can carry them.