German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called for a "new thinking" on disarmament policy and announced a Berlin initiative which he said aims to improve control over sophisticated weaponry.
"Our rules need to keep pace with the technological developments of new types of arms," Maas told Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung, a German daily, referring to what he described as "fully automated weapons systems that can kill entirely independent of human control."
He warned that although space-based missiles that can travel many times faster than the speed of sound may sound like science fiction today, they may soon become a "deadly reality". Maas declined to elaborate on the German initiative to curb such weaponry.
In early November, Maas touted the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, from which the US administration decided to withdraw in October, as one of the most important arms control and disarmament agreements in history.
"An end to the INF Treaty would bring down one of the greatest achievements of disarmament policy. This would fuel uncertainties and global armament tendencies," he underscored in a guest column for the magazine Der Spiegel.
On October 20, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because of Russia's alleged non-compliance with the agreement. Moscow rejected the accusations, adding that Russia would be forced to take measures to ensure the country's security if the document is terminated by the US.
The EU, in turn, expressed concern over Washington's move, with Germany saying that it advocates the preservation of the INF Treaty.