US Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday said the Pentagon would deploy ground-based intermediate-range conventional missiles in Asia a day after the White House withdrew from a key Cold War-era treaty.

“It’s fair to say, though, that we would like to deploy a capability sooner rather than later,” said Esper. “I would prefer months. I just don’t have the latest state of play on timelines.”

On Friday, the US formally exited from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), citing alleged violations by Russia. European officials have described the withdrawal as a risky move that undermines security on the continent.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said “Europe is losing part of its security” with the demise of the INF treaty. “I am convinced that today we must again succeed in agreeing rules on disarmament and arms control in order to prevent a new nuclear arms race.”

Read more: Opinion: Scrapping the INF treaty is risky — and a lost opportunity

Heiko Maas speaks to reporters

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the collapse of the INF makes Europe less secure

‘Shouldn’t surprise’ China

Esper said that the move would likely raise tensions with China at a moment when relations across the Pacific are strained under an ongoing trade war.

“80% plus of their inventory is intermediate range systems, so that shouldn’t surprise them that we would want to have a like capability,” Esper said.

Some have urged restraint, saying the collapse of the INF treaty should not lead to world powers bolstering their arsenal of intermediate-range missiles.

“We don’t want a new arms race,” said NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. “We have no intention to employ new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe.”

The US has suggested establishing a new treaty with China and Russia.

Read more: Landmark INF nuclear arms treaty is history: What now?

Every evening, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

Watch video 02:29

US, Russia trade blame for ending INF treaty

ls/jlw (Reuters, AP)

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Southern California quake causes damage, injuries

Wildland firefighters pass by hospital equipment being set up outside the Ridgecrest…

US stocks close higher amid trade optimism

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange,…

Power restored after Manhattan spends hours in the dark

NEW YORK — Power has been restored to all customers, after a…

Royal family shares stunning photos from baby Archie’s christening

Baby Archie was christened Saturday at Windsor Castle’s private chapel. The official…