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Okinawa Governor says NO to hosting prohibited U.S. nuclear missiles

Okinawa Governor Refuses to Host Prohibited U.S. Nuclear Missiles, In Depth News,  By Jaya Ramachandran, 29 June 20, GENEVA (IDN) – Governor Denny Tamaki of Okinawa district has rejected the U.S. plans to base on the island missiles capable of threatening China – apparently as part of President Donald Trump’s move to challenge Beijing and upgrade the importance of Taiwan, 500 kilometres away from the island. If a plan for Okinawa to host such missiles were to develop, Tamaki said: “I can easily imagine fierce opposition from Okinawa residents.”Okinawa comprises more than 150 islands in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland. It’s known for its tropical climate, broad beaches and coral reefs, as well as World War II sites.

Okinawa has been a critical strategic location for the United States Armed Forces since the end of World War II. The island hosts around 26,000 U.S. military personnel, about half of the total complement of the United States Forces Japan, spread among 32 bases and 48 training sites.

The largest island (Okinawa) hosts the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, commemorating a massive 1945 Allied invasion, and Churaumi Aquarium, home to whale sharks and manta rays.

Missiles the U.S. plans to base on Okinawa are prohibited by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union which, after dissolution, reconstituted into the Russian Federation in 1991.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and the then Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

It was the first arms-control treaty to abolish an entire category of weapons systems. Besides, two protocols to the agreement established unprecedented procedures for observers from both nations to verify first-hand the other countries destruction of its missiles.

The INF Treaty led to the elimination of 2,692 U.S. and Soviet nuclear and conventional, ground-launched ballistic and cruise missile. The U.S. President Donald Trump formally withdrew from the treaty August 2, 2019, citing Russian noncompliance with the accord. The Pentagon tested two previously prohibited missiles in August and December 2019.

Since the United States withdrew from the Treaty, AustraliaJapan, the Philippines, and South Korea have publicly said that they were not asked to nor are they considering serving as hosts for new U.S. ground-launched missiles. Secretary of Defence Mark Esper has previously suggested that he would like to see the deployment of such missiles in Europe and particularly Asia to counter China.

A senior Defence Department official told the Los Angeles Times that the Pentagon is “very attentive to our allies’ concerns, and we recognized their political challenges”. However, the official continued, “everything that’s said in the media is not necessarily what’s said behind closed doors”.

As the Washington-based Arms Control Association reported on June 26, Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg said on June 17 after a NATO Defence Ministerial that the alliance has “no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe”.

China is firmly opposed to any deployment of such missiles in the Asia-Pacific. “If the U.S. insists on the deployment, it will be a provocation at China’s doorstep,” said Chinese Defence Ministry Spokesperson Senior Colonel Wu Qian on June 24. “China will never sit idle and will take all necessary countermeasures,” he warned…….. https://www.indepthnews.net/index.php/armaments/nuclear-weapons/3648-okinawa-governor-refuses-to-host-prohibited-u-s-nuclear-missiles

June 29, 2020 - Posted by | OCEANIA, opposition to nuclear, weapons and war

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