Washington's recent ballistic missile test proves that the country used to prepare for tests of missiles banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty well ahead of withdrawing from the deal officially, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said on Friday.
"Since August 2 of this year, when the United States announced withdrawing from the INF Treaty, the Pentagon has already conducted two tests of ground-based missiles. Pentagon chief Esper said proudly that the US had started preparing for these tests in February of this year. I want you to take note that the US officially announced withdrawing from the INF on August 2, but the Pentagon chief said they had started preparing for the tests in February already. This substantiates once again our previous estimates that the US has reasoned out withdrawing from the INF well in advance," Hua said at a briefing.
Hua added that Washington's decision to leave the INF had been motivated only by its desire to secure military supremacy through developing advanced missile technologies.
"The US' twisting [of the facts] about Russia's violations of the agreement and China's missile threat is nothing more than a clumsy performance aimed at deceiving others," Hua added.
US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper praised on Thursday the successful test of the INF-banned ground-based missile, noting that it had taken less than nine months, instead of the usual two years, to go from concept to launch.after Washington withdrew from the INF.
The INF accord, signed between the US and Russia in 1987, was terminated on 2 August at the initiative of the Trump administration, after Washington formally suspended its INF obligations six months earlier.
Both countries have repeatedly accused each other of violating the deal which banned any ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (310 to 3,417 miles).