Beijing will move to counter Washington’s potential deployment of intermediate ground-launched missiles in Asia, foreign ministry officials have stated, joining Russia in criticizing the US for triggering a new arms race.
China would take unspecified “countermeasures” if the US followed through on its promise to deploy ground-launched intermediate-range missiles in Asia in the near future, Fu Cong, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department, told press in Beijing on Tuesday.
The US’ plans “will severely undermine global strategic balance and stability” as well as “threaten peace and security” in the Asia-Pacific region, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said earlier, urging Washington to “exercise restraint and stop taking actions that undermine the security interests of other countries.”
No sooner had the US formalized its withdrawal from the INF Treaty with Russia when incoming Defense Secretary Mark Esper suggested that the now-legal missiles should be rolled out in Asia as soon as possible. Australian PM Scott Morrison, after pledging to work with the US to counter Chinese activity in the region, quickly explained that Canberra had not volunteered to host the missiles itself and that it would refuse if asked in the future.
Washington unilaterally left the pivotal Cold War nuclear arms treaty under the pretext of alleged violations by Moscow. Russia, which formally left the agreement the day after the US, said it would continue to respond defensively to any threats, taking “corresponding steps to balance” the deployment of US missiles be it in Europe or Asia.