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China urges dialogue, as Russia and USA ramp up nuclear weaponry, pull out of weapons treaty

Russia withdraws from Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with US  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-02/russia-withdraws-from-cold-war-era-nuclear-weapons-treaty/10774536 Russia has suspended a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty, President Vladimir Putin said, after the United States accused Moscow of violations and said it would withdraw from the arms control pact.

Key points:

  • Russia will start work on new missiles, including hypersonic ones
  • US and Russia both allege the other has violated the INF treaty
  • China urges dialogue amid fears of nuclear arms race

The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty prevents the two superpowers from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched nuclear cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

The United States announced it will withdraw from the INF treaty in six months unless Moscow ends what it says are violations of the pact, but Russia denied violating the treaty.

“The American partners have declared that they suspend their participation in the deal, we suspend it as well,” Mr Putin said during a televised meeting with foreign and defence ministers.

Mr Putin said Russia will start work on creating new missiles, including hypersonic ones, and told ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, accusing the United States of being slow to respond to such moves.

“We have repeatedly, during a number of years, and constantly raised a question about substantiative talks on the disarmament issue,” Mr Putin said.

“We see that in the past few years the partners have not supported our initiatives.”

The US alleges a new Russian cruise missile violates the important pact, signed by former leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

The missile, the Novator 9M729, is known as the SSC-8 by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Russia said the missile’s range put it outside the treaty, and accused the US of inventing a false pretext to exit a treaty it wants to leave anyway so it can develop new missiles.

Russia also rejected the demand to destroy the new missile.

During the meeting with Mr Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the US of violating the INF and other arms deals, including the non-proliferation treaty.

Mr Putin said Russia would not deploy its weapons in Europe and other regions unless the US did so.

Fears of new arms race

The row over the INF treaty is yet another twist in Russia’s worsening relations with the United States and the West, with tensions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine as well as allegations of it meddling with the presidential election in the US and being behind a nerve agent attack in Britain.

The treaty’s suspension has drawn a strong reaction from Europe and China.

European nations fear the treaty’s collapse could lead to a new arms race with possibly a new generation of US nuclear missiles stationed on the continent.

In a statement, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the bilateral treaty was important to maintain “global strategic balance and stability”.

“China is opposed to US withdrawal action and urges the United States and Russia to handle their differences properly through constructive dialogue,” the statement said, warning that unilateral withdrawal could trigger “negative consequences”.

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February 4, 2019 - Posted by | China, politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war

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