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DATE=9/1/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON-MISSILE DEFENSE (L) NUMBER=2-266061 BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: President Clinton has announced he is leaving a decision on whether the United States will deploy a missile defense system to his successor. The proposed system -- aimed against missiles fired by countries like Iraq or North Korea -- enjoys strong Republican support but is opposed by Russia and some U-S allies. V-O-A's David Gollust reports from the White House. TEXT: Mr. Clinton is not killing the national missile defense, or N-M-D, program altogether. Flight testing and other development efforts will continue. But there will be no ground-breaking on the proposed radar complex in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska that is essential to early deployment. In an address at Washington's Georgetown University, Mr. Clinton cited recent test failures and diplomatic complications as reasons for deferring a deployment decision: /// Clinton Act /// We have made progress, but we should not move forward until we have absolute confidence that the system will work, and until we have made every reasonable diplomatic effort to minimize the cost of deployment and maximize the benefit -- as I said -- not only to America's security but to the security of law-abiding nations everywhere subject to the same threat /// End Act /// Mr. Clinton said deployment of a workable system is still six or seven years away, so his decision would not materially delay it if the next president decides to go ahead. But he said it will allow more time to work out differences with -- among others --Russia, which views the U-S program as a violation of the 1972 Anti- Ballistic Missile, or A-B-M, treaty and fears it will undermine nuclear deterrence. The president's address at Georgetown -- where he received an undergraduate degree three decades ago -- seemed in large part a lecture to Republicans and other ardent supporters of missile defense about the diplomatic problems of going forward. He noted that some U-S NATO allies share Russia's view about the system and its implications for the A-B-M treaty. And he said his successor should also consider what he termed an "already dangerous" nuclear situation in Asia -- where he said China could substantially increase its nuclear forces in order to be able overwhelm a U-S defense system, and where India and Pakistan might step up nuclear efforts in response to a Chinese buildup: /// Clinton Act Two /// The next president may, nevertheless, decide that our interests in security in the 21st century dictate that we go forward with N-M-D. But we can never afford to overlook the fact that the actions and reactions of others in this increasingly interdependent world do bear on our security. Clearly it would be far better to move forward in the context of the A-B-M treaty and allied support. Our efforts to make that possible have not been completed. /// End Act /// Mr. Clinton said he hopes he can narrow U-S-Russian differences on the issue next week when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the United Nations Millennium summit. Officials here say Mr. Clinton made his decision after reviewing recommendations from Defense Secretary William Cohen and other senior advisers on various factors -- including the cost of the program, estimated at 60-billion dollars if it goes forward to completion. Mr. Clinton said the threat of a missile attack from a so-called rogue state is only one of many dangers facing the United States, and that it must also focus on alternate means to deter, pre-empt and otherwise deal with potential attacks by terrorists and others. He said it would be "folly" to base the nation's defense solely on a strategy of waiting until a missile is in the air and trying to shoot down. (Signed) NEB/DAG/JP 01-Sep-2000 13:26 PM LOC (01-Sep-2000 1726 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .