US pullout from INF ‘could fuel arms race’

By Leng Shumei and Ni Hao Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/21 23:08:40

Removing controls on intermediate missiles to have spillover effects

The US's withdrawal from a nuclear missile control treaty with Russia could add fuel to a global arms race, Chinese experts said, warning that China should increase its self-defense capacity to safeguard national security.

US President Donald Trump said Saturday the US will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, a decades-old pact limiting strategic weapons development, the Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.

Trump made the remarks after attending a rally in the state of Nevada, accusing Russia of violating the 1987 treaty, although without providing any evidence, according to Xinhua.

"The agreement has been violated for many years," Trump said, adding that "we will have to develop those weapons."

The INF Treaty, signed between the former Soviet Union and the US, bans the development, deployment and testing of ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges between 300 miles (483 kilometers) and 3,400 miles (5,472 kilometers).

"The US's withdrawal from the INF Treaty will set a bad example for some developing countries who want to get rid of United Nations controls so that they can produce their own intermediate-range missiles," Yang Chengjun, a Chinese missile expert and quantum defense scientist, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Developing missiles for weapons is not difficult. Many developing countries use it as a shortcut to enhance their overall national strength, Yang said, warning of the likelihood of a new global arms race if the INF treaty were to be abandoned.

"Intermediate-range missiles are mainly used in regional armed conflicts, so if we remove constraints on developing this kind of missile, it will definitely have a negative impact," Yang said. 

According to a Guardian report on Sunday, there were voices in favor of the withdrawal within the US who argued that "the INF Treaty tied the country's hands in its strategic rivalry with China in the Pacific, with no response to Chinese medium-range missiles that could threaten US bases, allies and shipping."

"These voices are groundless and unconvincing," Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Liu said that it had become a habit of Trump to paint China as a harmful element to the US.

Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly headed to Russia on Saturday and would tell Russian leaders about the US plan to exit the landmark deal, Xinhua reported on Sunday.

It said the deal was negotiated between then-president Ronald Reagan and former general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.


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