10:18 GMT23 September 2020
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    Washington earlier restarted the development of previously banned short- and medium-range missiles following the nation’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty in August 2019. Now, the US is negotiating with Asian countries to deploy such missiles to "counter" China’s nuclear arsenal.

    Beijing has condemned US plans to deploy medium-range nuclear armaments in the Asia-Pacific region close to China’s borders and promised to take measures to respond to these provocations. The Chinese Foreign Ministry cautioned Washington against pressuring regional countries into allowing its nukes to be deployed on their soil.

    "[Beijing] expresses strong discontent over constant pressure on China and its neighbouring states, as well as over open provocations against China near its borders", the statement said.

    China further urged the US to strive for global and regional stability instead of doing everything to undermine it.

    American Missiles in Asia-Pacific

    The prospect of American missiles being deployed to the Asia-Pacific region was unveiled by US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea in an interview with the Japanese news agency Nikkei. He revealed that Washington is in talks with its Asian allies on the matter of deploying short- and medium-range missiles in order to counter "the immediate threat" of China’s nuclear arsenal. These plans have already been condemned by Russia as destabilising for the region.

    These missiles were earlier banned from being developed and produced as a part of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) signed in 1987 by the US and USSR and inherited by Russia. Washington, however, ditched the deal in 2019 under poorly substantiated claims of Moscow violating it. The Kremlin has since repeatedly appealed to the White House to revert the decision, recalling that the treaty had held for decades despite Moscow itself having questions about US compliance with it. Russia also offered an option of mutual non-deployment, agreeing not to deploy previously banned armaments if the US doesn't deploy its own near Russia’s borders in Europe and Asia, but Washington turned a deaf ear to the call.

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    Tags:
    deployment, missiles, INF Treaty, INF Treaty Withdrawal, US, China
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