US denounces Moscow's 'bellicose rhetoric'
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The United States said that Russia and Europe should be "equal partners" in its planned missile defense, but also criticized Russia's "bellicose rhetoric" over the newly signed US-Czech anti-ballistic defense deal.
The United States said Wednesday that Russia and Europe should be "equal partners" in its planned missile defence, after Moscow threatened to react militarily to any deployment near its borders.
"We seek strategic cooperation on preventing missiles from rogue nations like Iran from threatening our friends and allies," said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe. "We will continue to have a dialogue with the Russians."
"We want to design a system between the United States, Russia and Europe, with everyone participating as equal partners," Johndroe said on the margins of a rich nations summit at this mountain resort in northern Japan.
But Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morell called Moscow's threat "bellicose rhetoric" meant to make Washington's European partners nervous.
"I can only assume Russia's bellicose rhetoric is designed to make Europeans nervous about participating in this system, but that won't work," said Morrell.
US President George W. Bush and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev clashed on the controversial missile shield plan on Monday, in their first face-to-face talks since the Russian leader took office in May.
Russia warned Tuesday that it would react militarily if Washington erected installations on its Cold War turf, hours after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed a deal to base some components in the Czech Republic.
"If a US strategic anti-missile shield is deployed near our borders, we will be forced to react not in a diplomatic fashion but with military resources," a foreign office statement said.
"There is no doubt that the grouping of elements of the strategic US arsenal faced towards Russian territory" could lead Moscow to "take adequate measures to face the threats to its national security," it added.
The deal with Prague permits a tracking radar station and American troops on Czech soil.
It is part of an extended shield that Washington says is necessary to ward off potential attacks by so-called "rogue states."
The United States also wants a radar system twinned with interceptor missiles in neighbouring Poland, although negotiations with Warsaw have become bogged down with Polish demands for additional security guarantees.
Former Soviet state Lithuania has offered itself as an alternative site should the Polish talks stall.
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