Index

DATE=9/1/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=GORE-BUSH MISSILE DEFENSE (L) NUMBER=2-266066 BYLINE=PAULA WOLFSON DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Both candidates for president of the United States are responding to President Clinton's announcement that he will leave a final decision on deployment of a missile defense system to his successor. As V-O-A's Paula Wolfson reports, just minutes after Mr. Clinton spoke, Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush were making their views known. TEXT: George W. Bush accuses the Clinton administration of stalling on a vital defense system. He says he is willing to lead where President Clinton and Vice President Gore have failed. In a written statement, the Texas Governor vows, if elected, to deploy an effective missile defense system at the earliest possible date. He says it is needed to protect Americans from accidental attacks, or -- in his words -- blackmail from rogue nations. But Vice President Gore says the delay is wise. He says more testing is needed ... and that could take time. /// GORE ACT /// I am supportive of national missile defense. And there are 16 additional intercept tests already scheduled. One could decide to proceed with deployment at any time during the testing process once fully convinced the technologies are ready. /// END ACT /// In an interview with radio reporters covering his campaign, Mr. Gore said a delay will also provide more time to convince foreign governments the concept is sound. He made specific mention of Russian and Chinese objections. They insist such a system would violate existing arms treaties. But Mr. Gore said only small modifications to these agreements are needed. /// GORE ACT TWO /// I don't believe that the system we are currently pursuing need lead to the end of the anti- ballistic missile treaty. I think it is important to talk about the limited nature of it with the Russians. At the end of the day, I would not allow their opposition -- by itself -- to dissuade me from deploying it. /// END ACT /// Vice President Gore said defending America's security would be his highest priority. But when asked which specific foreign policy issue would top his list of concerns -- the Mideast peace process, Russia, concerns about China -- he said they are all important and none should be ignored. (SIGNED) NEB/PW/JP 01-Sep-2000 15:31 PM LOC (01-Sep-2000 1931 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .