17:58 GMT +318 January 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Japanese Foreign Minister suggested that if US does withdraw from the US-Russian Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the bilateral arms control agreement should be replaced with another deal that would cover not only Russia and the US, but China and other countries concerned as well, the NHK broadcaster reported.

    The NHK broadcaster reported that Japan's top diplomat told reporters that Tokyo hoped to participate in the creation of a new disarmament agreement if it proves necessary, adding that the termination of the INF Treaty would do no good.

    "I can understand what has led the United States to consider suspending its obligations under the [INF] treaty. I also understand Washington's concerns leading to the decision but it is not desirable for the world if the pact comes to an end", Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono was quoted as saying by the broadcaster.

    Earlier in the day, Washington announced that the United States would suspend its obligations under the INF treaty on Saturday and launch the withdrawal process, which would be completed in six months unless Moscow remedies country's alleged violations of the deal.

    The arms control treaty was signed by then-leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and then-US President Ronald Reagan in 1987 amid the Cold War crisis that led to a nuclear arms race between the two most powerful countries in the world at that time. The two countries reached a historic agreement to cut their nuclear arsenals and pledged to destroy all cruise or ground-launched ballistic missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,400 miles.

    READ MORE: Trump Hopes to Negotiate 'Much Better' Deal Than INF Suspended by US

    Last October, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would pull out of the INF Treaty, claiming that Russia violated the agreement. In December, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said that Russia had 60 days to start complying with the agreement, or the United States would leave the treaty. Russia has denied committing any breaches.

    China is one of the world's five first nuclear weapon states, which also include — apart from Russia and the United States — France and the United Kingdom.

    Related:

    Trump Hopes to Negotiate 'Much Better' Deal Than INF Suspended by US
    'INF Treaty is More Important Than US-Russia Bilateral Relations' – Scholar
    Germany’s Merkel Vows to Continue INF Nuclear Arms Talks
    New INF Deal Unlikely With Trump in Office, But Worth a Try - Ex-US Diplomat
    Tags:
    Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), missile, disarmament, Japan, United States, Russia
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