The US plans to start testing cruise and ballistic missiles banned by a landmark Cold War treaty with Russia, which lapsed on Friday, as early this month, fuelling fears of a renewed arms race. The US also said future arms control negotiations should include China.
The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed in 1987 by the US and Russia (then Soviet Union).
The Pentagon will start testing a ground-based version of the navy’s Tomahawk cruise missiles later this month, and a ballistic missile is being developed for the army.
The New York Times reported that the new generation of these missiles will be deployed to counter China.
“Russia refused (to comply), so the treaty ends today,” US secretary of state Mike Pompeo tweeted on Friday. “The US will not remain party to a treaty when others violate it. Russia bears sole responsibility.”
NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg also blamed Russia. “We regret that Russia showed no willingness and took no steps to comply with its international obligations,” he told reporters.
The US wants to rope in China in view of its growing arsenal of missiles. “Going forward, the US calls upon Russia and China to join us in this opportunity to deliver real security results to our nations and the entire world,” Pompeo said.
But Beijing is not inclined. “China’s ministry of national defence essentially laughed at the idea of a three-way deal on arms control involving the US and Russia,” Zhou Bo, a member of the PLA academy of military sciences, wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
Just to make matters worse between the two countries, Washington also announced fresh sanctions on Moscow over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.