Monday, 19 November, 2018

Chinese missile build-up has also strained US-Russia arms pact

Donald Trump: US will build up nuclear arsenal Donald Trump says US will build up its nuclear arsenal
Deanna Wagner | 23 October, 2018, 14:26

Russian Federation said on Monday it would be forced to respond in kind to restore the military balance with the United States if President Donald Trump carried through on a threat to quit a nuclear arms treaty and began developing new missiles.

His meetings are expected to focus on Trump's announcement the U.S. is withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was signed in 1987 to restrict the development of nuclear missiles. "[Russia has] not adhered to the spirit of that agreement or to the agreement itself".

The Kremlin denied any such violation and suggested that it was Washington - and not Moscow - that had failed to comply with the pact.

He relayed Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement that it was the United States that "dilutes" the agreement by deploying anti-missile systems that can also be used to launch short- or medium-range missiles.

"It's a threat to whoever you want". What does the INF breach mean? If these systems are in development, action from other countries is required.

"We have no ground-based (missile) capability that can threaten China because of, among other things, our rigid adherence.to the treaty", Harris told a Senate hearing in March, without calling for the treaty to be scrapped.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty bans ground-fired ballistic and cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers and is an artifact of the late Cold War.

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Putin in March used a concept video of unlimited range nuclear warheads apparently raining down on Florida to tout his country's new firepower. "And we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to". This decision will affect both the countries which are party to the treaty and their neighbors.

"Russia must return to compliance with the INF Treaty or the United States will need to respond to its cavalier disregard for the treaty's specific limits", Mattis said after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

"The point I made to Russian colleagues today was that I didn't think, whatever they had done in terms of meddling in the 2016 election, that they had any effect on it, but what they have had an effect in the United States is to sow enormousdistrust of Russia", Bolton told radio station Ekho Moskvy during his visit to Moscow, according to a transcript provided by the White House.

Even as Mr. Trump has blamed Russian violations of the treaty for his decision, he has also pointed a finger at China.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Trump on Sunday to stress the importance of the treaty, his office said on Monday. The Pentagon wants to counter this by deploying its own missiles in the region, but is barred from doing so by the INF treaty.

"There's a military imbalance in Asia that we're anxious about", said Eric Sayers, who served as a special assistant to retired Navy Admiral Harry Harris, who was the top USA military commander in the Pacific before becoming United States ambassador to South Korea. "This would be a very unsafe step, which, I'm sure, won't be just understood by the worldwide community, but arouse serious condemnation of all members of the world community, who are committed to security and stability, and are ready to work on strengthening the current regimes in arms control".

On Monday, Bolton discussed the fate of the treaty with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and spent "nearly five hours" in talks with Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev, a spokesman for the council told AFP.