Saudi Arabia confirmed Saturday that it is buying Chinese intermediate-range missiles, but it said they would not be armed with nuclear warheads.

An official statement, attributed to an unidentified government official and distributed by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, strongly defended the kingdom's growing military arsenal as a factor that "would contribute to regional stability."The official said Saudi Arabia has acquired "an intermediate-range surface-to-surface missile system from China" but gave no details about the cost or how many missiles are involved.

He stressed, however, that media reports that said the missiles had nuclear capability did "not conform to the, truth and the kingdom denies (them) fully."

The Chinese deal was disclosed in Washington on Friday by the State Department and was said to involve CSS-2 missiles, similar to those used in China's limited space program in the early 1970s. They are capable of being fitted with nuclear warheads.

The State Department said the missiles had a range of 2,200 miles and could hit any area of the Middle East, including Israel.