Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday announced that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a major pact with Russian Federation that has played a key role in European security since the Cold War.
Without the INF Treaty, the question becomes how will the USA contain Russia's missile proliferation.
The Pentagon has shared information with NATO allies asserting that Russia's new 9M729 missile system falls within the treaty.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on December 4 that his country would stop fulfilling its liabilities under the INF Treaty unless Russian Federation returned to "full and verifiable" compliance with it within 60 days.
It's a U.S. -Russia treaty that's been a centerpiece of superpower arms control since the Cold War.
Washington however said a static display of the cruise missile does not prove this.
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"Russia continues to deny its violations. The answer to that is no".
Russian Federation says the missile's range puts it outside the treaty, and has accused the United States of inventing a false pretext to exit a treaty that it wants to leave anyway so it can develop new missiles. The agreement was the first of its kind to eliminate an entire class of missiles.
In his statement, Trump said his administration "remains committed to effective arms control that advances United States, allied, and partner security, is verifiable and enforceable, and includes partners that fulfill their obligations".
"Moscow reserves the right to a corresponding reactions and response measures [following the US' withdrawal from the INF Treaty]".
He left the door open to the treaty being salvaged in that 180-day window, but only if Russian Federation destroys all of its violating missiles, launchers and associated equipment.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on his Twitter page that without the INF Treaty, the world will become less safe, adding that it doesn't need debates about a build-up of armaments, but arms control treaties.
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Thomas Countryman, a former career diplomat who served as acting undersecretary of state for arms control and worldwide security until January 2017, cited Bolton's opposition to other global agreements such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, another pact with Russian Federation, which the United States withdrew from in 2002. "You have to be concerned he will welcome any excuse not to extend New START, just as he welcomed this reason to kill the INF Treaty".
A senior Trump administration official told reporters on February 1 that the exit from the treaty has nothing to do with China, which has deployed more than 1,000 missiles neither Washington nor Moscow could deploy under the INF.
"So there most likely will no immediate arms race", Felgenhauer said. Russia in turn accused the United States of unilaterally seeking to neuter the agreement and of resisting Russian attempts to resolve the dispute. Since China has never been a signatory of the INF Treaty, it has been able to build up a vast arsenal of nonnuclear weapons, such as the DF-21 "carrier killer", that now threaten freedom of navigation in the Pacific.
"I conclude that the United States was not expecting any decision and all this was a game made to cover their domestic decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty".
The official said if that happens "then the USA would unsuspend".
"We are sometime away from having a system that we have produced, that we would train soldiers or airmen or Marines to deploy, and then certainly before we would be in a position to talk about basing, potentially in allied countries. and of course all that will be proceeded by intensive consultations with allies so that we can have a mutual understanding of what the security environment, what the defense and deterrence environment will be in a post INF world", the official said. "It aims to put the United States at a military disadvantage and it undercuts the chances of moving our bilateral relationship in a better direction". Instead of being constrained by a treaty that didn't have both parties abiding by it, Pompeo said, the USA had no choice but to end it. He added that Washington's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies "fully support" the USA in its actions in regards to the INF withdrawal.
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