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    US Did Not Discuss Planned INF Treaty Pullout With Chinese Officials - Pompeo

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US and Chinese officials have not addressed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in the wake of United States’ decision to pull out from the accord, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

    "We did not spend time talking in detail about that issue today," Pompeo said in a joint press conference with Defense Secretary James Mattis and their Chinese counterparts at the State Department.

    Pompeo was responding to a reporter’s question whether he and Mattis raised the possibility of China participating in arms control given that the Trump administration cited China as one of reasons for the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty.

    US President Donald Trump said last month he wanted to scrap the INF Treaty, which bans any ground-launched missile systems with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (300 to 3,400 miles), but the move needs congressional approval.

    The Trump administration has announced its plans to exit the INF treaty, claiming that Russia is violating the accord with the deployment of a new class of cruise missiles in Europe — a charge that Moscow denies.

    READ MORE: Lavrov: Russia Ready to Renew Dialogue With US on INF, START, ABM Treaties

    The administration has also expressed concern the United States may need to develop new tactical nuclear weapons to counter a military buildup by China, which is not included in the INF Treaty.

    In late October, Trump said that China should be part of the INF treaty.

    Commenting on his surprise decision just weeks before crucial midterm elections, Trump said the United States would be increasing its nuclear arsenal until Russia and China "come to their senses."

    Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that such rhetoric on the part of the Trump administration was aimed to fire up the Republican base.

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    discussion, withdrawal, INF treaty, Mike Pompeo, China, United States
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