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DATE=5/23/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=BUSH-NUCLEAR (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-262702 BYLINE=DAVID SWAN DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Republican presidential candidate George W- Bush is pledging to cut back the country's nuclear arsenal and try to convince Russia to do the same. If elected, the Texas governor would also build a national missile defense network - which, he says, the Clinton administration should not prevent. V-O-A's David Swan has details. TEXT: Mr. Bush has accused the White House of being mired in Cold War thinking. In a Washington speech (Tuesday), he said his administration would take a fresh look at national security. The governor says he would try to cut the American nuclear stockpile beyond the limits of the START-TWO treaty with Russia. That agreement would leave each side with about three- thousand warheads. Though not giving a specific number, Mr. Bush says further reductions can be made without jeopardizing the country's safety. /// Bush act /// We should not keep weapons that our military planners do not need. These unneeded weapons are the expensive relics of dead conflicts and they do nothing to make us more secure. In addition, the United States should remove as many weapons as possible from high-alert, hair- trigger status. /// end act /// At the same time, Mr. Bush repeated his commitment to a new missile defense system to guard against what he calls rogue-state attack. Russia strongly opposes the idea, on the grounds it would effectively destroy the longstanding Anti-Ballistic-Missile treaty. However, Mr. Bush urged President Clinton not to strike any deal with Moscow that might tie his hands. /// Bush act /// What I'm really suggesting is that he not hamstring the ability of the next president to fully develop an anti-ballistic missile system to protect ourselves and our allies. /// end act /// The Clinton administration is currently weighing a proposal for a limited missile defense. U-S officials have also begun preliminary talks with Russia on new offensive arms cuts that go beyond the reductions outlined in the START-Two treaty. /// REST OPT /// Appearing with Mr. Bush were several well-known foreign policy figures of the past, ranging from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell. Mr. Powell, who served under the governor's father, has been widely mentioned as a possible secretary of state in a new Bush administration. He says the governor's approach is correct. /// Powell act /// We are not against any state, but we have an obligation to protect our people, to protect our friends and allies with strong offensive systems and by plumbing the full depths of the defensive possibilities that are out there. So I am pleased to align myself with this statement. /// end act /// The statement -- and the high-profile endorsements it received -- seem designed to shore up Mr. Bush's credentials on foreign affairs, where, as a state governor, he has had little experience. His call for nuclear arms reductions could also deflect Democratic attempts to portray him as a hardline conservative. (Signed) NEB/DS/KBK 23-May-2000 12:46 PM EDT (23-May-2000 1646 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .