“The unilateral and unlimited build-up of missile defence by a single state or by a narrow group of states could damage strategic stability and international security,” the six members of the SCO said in the declaration.
Apart from regional heavyweights China and Russia, the SCO also includes the mostly Muslim ex-Soviet Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia have observer status in the body, set up 10 years ago to promote regional cooperation.
Moscow has recently stepped up criticism of US plans to deploy missile defences in Europe and has pressed for binding guarantees that the system would not weaken Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has threatened a new Cold War-style arms race if Moscow and Washington fail to resolve the missile defence spat.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said SCO members had been unanimous in their criticism of the missile shield and that the declaration referred not only to the European system.
“It is part of a global shield, and the global missile defence system being set up by the United States, which also covers East and South Asia,” he said.
The United States says its planned shield is meant to reduce the threat of a missile attack by Iran. Moscow says it fears the true aim is to neutralise Russia’s own nuclear arsenal. US officials say the proposed shiel… >>>