Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Did The U.S. Withdraw From the INF Treaty Because Of China?

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper met South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo on August 9 on one of the stops in Esper’s first Asia tour as defence secretary. The US has said it plans to deploy a new generation of land-based intermediate-range missiles in Asia, provoking the ire of China. Photo: Reuters

Cary Huang, SCMP: The US breaks free of its nuclear treaty with Russia to focus on its main target: China

* Washington is now free to test and deploy the intermediate-range missiles it believes it needs to compete with its most serious challenger
* China’s growing arsenal sets the scene for the resurgence of nuclear geopolitics

On the surface, the primary reason behind the United States’ recent withdrawal from the bilateral Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was Russia’s violation of the terms of the treaty. But, on closer inspection, Washington’s main motivation and target is Beijing.

The treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, was aimed at eliminating short- and intermediate-range land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and missile launchers which are armed with nuclear warheads.

President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the treaty after Russia refused to destroy a new intermediate-range missile system that Washington and its Nato allies said violated the pact. But the more important reason behind the US exit is that Washington believes the treaty is unfit for the new geostrategic status quo since it did not apply to China, which maintains, according to a US government report, the world’s “largest and most diverse” range of land-based missiles, including the DF-21 and DF-26.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I concur with the above analysis. According to NATO there are no plans to deploy intermediate missiles in Europe .... INF nuclear treaty: Nato 'to avoid arms race' after US-Russia pact ends (BBC). Russia's response has also been the same .... Russia Says Will Not Deploy New Missiles If U.S. Does The Same (RFE). But the U.S. is going to deploy these missiles in Asia, and the target is China .... With Cold War pact dead, U.S. looks to place intermediate-range missiles in Asia (NBC).

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