Published: Tue, October 23, 2018

Trump says US ready to bolster nuclear arsenal after vowing treaty pullout

Trump says US ready to bolster nuclear arsenal after vowing treaty pullout

And it includes China.

Trump's announcement has raised global concerns, with the European Commission urging the United States and Russian Federation to pursue talks to preserve the treaty and China calling on Washington to "think twice".

President Donald Trump said on Monday that the United States plans to increase it's already massive nuclear arsenal, a move that could start another arms race.

Kelly Magsamen, who helped craft the Pentagon's Asian policy under the Obama administration, said China's ability to work outside of the INF treaty had vexed policymakers in Washington, long before Trump came into office.

The INF treaty was signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, in the final years of the Cold War. US, which has historically violated treaties, has withdrawn from the INF treaty claiming that Russian Federation is in violation of it.

Mr Trump said the United States would build up its arsenal "until people come to their senses".

Despite repeated Russian denials, US authorities believe Moscow is developing and has deployed a ground-launched system in breach of the treaty that could allow it to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice.

The so-called 1987 INF Treaty banned land-based missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres in an effort to prevent highly destabilising missiles that could be armed with nuclear warheads from being deployed along the borders of Europe.

"The United States should try to address the fact that China is not a party by negotiating a new treaty with that country or with China and China", he added in a statement.

Bolton had talks in Moscow with Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's Security Council, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

But some U.S. military officials have asserted for months that if China was unwilling to sign on to the treaty American forces will be "hamstrung" by Beijing's growing arsenal of ground-based missiles - 90 per cent of which would be outlawed if it were a party to the treaty - and need the freedom to boost their own missile forces in the region.

In comments released after his meetings, Bolton denied Russian allegations the United States was using the threat of treaty withdrawal to blackmail Russia.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected claims that Moscow has violated the pact, instead accusing Washington of doing so, and called Bolton's upcoming meeting with Putin important. Many of them had been pointed at Europe.

The European Union called the INF treaty "a pillar of European security architecture" that had resulted in the destruction of nearly 3,000 nuclear and conventional warheads and continued to play an important non-proliferation role.

"Talking about China on the issue of unilaterally pulling out of the treaty is completely mistaken", spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. "The world doesn't need a new arms race".

If the U.S. pulls out of the treaty, it's not because there is any need for more weaponry.

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