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NATO chief sees new US missile deployments in Europe as unlikely

25 October 2018

He added: "There would be nothing left except an arms race". The announcement sent shockwaves through the military and scientific establishment.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader who signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with then-President Ronald Reagan, called the decision a "mistake" that did not originate from a great mind. The ambitious treaty aimed to eliminate an entire class of nuclear weapons delivery systems. Bolton reiterated Trump's vow to formally withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty "in due course", saying Russian violations of the agreement are "long and deep".

On Oct. 22, Chinese foreign affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press conference that "it is completely wrong to bring up China when talking about withdrawal from the treaty".

Why does the US exit from the treaty matter?

Russian Federation has the option of deploying intermediate-range missiles in its European exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, a move that would put a swath of Europe in range.

The Russian government has said it would be forced to take symmetrical measures if the United States follows through on Trump's threat to develop new missiles.

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Bolton also cited China's massive intermediate-range missile capability as another key concern. But those missiles weren't the only problem.

At best, it will take years for the United States to put this strategy into practice. Back then, the United States deployed cruise missiles in Europe to counterbalance a perceived threat from the Soviet Union's SS-20 nuclear warheads. That's correct. But it doesn't matter.

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"Walking away from INF should be an option of absolute last resort, yet no serious effort has been made by the Trump administration to resolve mutual allegations of treaty violations and bring Russian Federation back into compliance with a valuable agreement". Since the end of World War II, China has maintained a minimal nuclear arsenal and a vague nuclear doctrine.

"I am convinced that the topic will be among the main ones when the presidents meet and the conversation starts".

In turn, China has developed several intermediate-range weapons, including the Dongfeng-26, which threatens regional and global stability.

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The Russian leader further demonstrated his knowledge of US symbols, citing the motto written on the scroll the eagle holds in its beak - "Out of Many, One" - as reflecting the need to find common ground despite various viewpoints.

Feng Yukon, a professor at China's Fudan University, said in the past few years the pact has existed in name only as both Moscow and Washington have accused each other of not complying with the treaty.

Moscow has repeatedly denied that it has violated the INF Treaty, arguing that in fact it is the United States that has not respected its terms.

Trump has accused Moscow of violating the treaty "for many years" and warned Russian Federation and China, which is not a signatory to the agreement, to cease their development of ground-launched tactical nuclear missiles, otherwise the USA will restart its own program. That's why it is time to scrap the INF Treaty and try something new. "Indeed, what was the formal pretext of our partners withdrawing from the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] agreement?"

In response, the Kremlin confirmed those fears, saying that is exactly how the Russians view the move by the Trump administration. But that's not likely to happen - nearly all of an estimated 2,000 weapons in China's nuclear arsenal would be proscribed under the INF, while the US has nuclear-armed submarines and heavy bombers deployed in that region to deter China's use of those weapons.

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NATO chief sees new US missile deployments in Europe as unlikely