Russia will give an adequate response to the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty but will not shelve proposals aimed at stopping the arms race, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
The US is yet to respond to Russia's announcement but AP news agency last week cited Trump officials as saying there were no immediate plans to test or deploy missiles banned under the INF. The INF treaty banned all land-based missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500km.
For its part, the U.S. of Donald Trump has stoked Russian anxieties over American intentions by withdrawing from a number of multilateral accords - including the Iran nuclear deal - pursuing superiority in sea- and air-launched missile systems, and talking up development of a new ground-launched cruise missile.
"Within the same time limits, we need to develop the ground-based system with the long-range hypersonic missile". Japanese officials hope for the creation of a "new framework" of nuclear disarmament pursued by the U.S., Russian Federation and China - an idea U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned in a tweet in early December a year ago. While the United States wants to update its nuclear arsenal according to the needs of the day and novel challenges to its national interests and security, the decision has already invited a quick response from Russian Federation in the form of Russia's withdrawal from the same treaty.
"The loss of the treaty creates a real possibility of an unpredictable and unconstrained US-Russian arms race in Europe and, potentially, in Northeast Asia as well", said Alexander Vershbow, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former US ambassador to Russia, in an article posted on the council's website on Friday.
United States officials have emphasised their fear that China, which is not party to the treaty, is gaining a significant military advantage in Asia by deploying large numbers of missiles with ranges beyond the treaty's limit. He claimed the new weapon can fly at 20 times the speed of sound and manoeuvre up and down, meaning it could breach most USA missile defense systems.
Ground-launched missiles were banned under the INF, but not sea or air-launched ones, which Russian Federation already possesses and that can be used to create the new systems. Now, China and others such as Pakistan, India, and North Korea, are thought to have such capability-and they are not bound by the INF treaty.
European leaders have voiced fears over the consequences of the treaty's demise, and have called on Russian Federation to address concerns before the United States formally leaves in August. He said China urges the United States and Russian Federation to properly resolve differences through constructive dialogue.
Experts say the United States and Russian Federation abandoning of the INF treaty delivered a huge blow to the global arms control regime and worldwide security. The American response was to deploy its own ballistic and cruise missiles which made its European allies very unhappy. The reports are believed to be meant to restrain the U.S.by emphasizing the performance of the latest weapon.
Over the past five years, Chinese forces have steadily consolidated and expanded their presence in the South China Sea through land reclamation efforts.