US National Security Advisor Bolton reacts to Putin meeting

Chinese ZBD-03 airborne armored infantry fighting vehicle waits to take part in a rehearsal for a large military parade in Beijing. When China rolls out its latest armaments Thursday Sept. 3
Trump’s Call to Have China in INF Signifies Beijing’s Military Growth- Scholars

24 October, 2018

Leaving the treaty will free up the USA to counter Russia's treaty-violating arms deployments aimed at Europe - and to respond to a Chinese buildup of intermediate-range nuclear-tipped missiles aimed at the South China Sea, administration officials say.

The Cold War agreement saw thousands of missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles destroyed, and banned the development and testing of such weapons.

On Tuesday, he may also speak about the treaty with President Vladimir Putin, according to Mr. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said the Russian leader was looking for "clarifications" about USA intentions.

Russian Federation has vehemently denied any state-sponsored meddling, but Putin has said some "patriotic" hackers could have been involved. "And it includes anybody else that wants to play that game". You can't do that. And it includes China.

In China, some observers have a more subdued opinion on China's capabilities vis-á-vis the U.S. and its allies. Harry Harris, who led US military forces in the Pacific before becoming USA ambassador to Seoul, said earlier this year that the United States was at a disadvantage.

"Instead of winding up the rhetoric and threatening retaliatory measures, both Moscow and Washington need to engage in diplomacy and confidence building measures, together with a gradual phased, balanced and monitored reduction in their weapons", she added.

"At a time when the United States and the Soviet Union were the only global superpowers, the INF Treaty was a landmark agreement that helped provide stability and security in Europe, " he said.

Beijing was not part of the INF treaty which has restricted the USA and Russian Federation and has been free to build new and more deadly missiles.

Bolton, who is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday, was visiting Moscow in the wake of Trump's announcement Saturday that he wants to do away with the pact that bans intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles.

For John Lee, a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute think tank who specializes in defense strategy, "the situation vis-a-vis China, uninhibited by any agreement, is very different and far more pressing" than that of Russian Federation.

Not bound by the nuclear arms treaty, China has built and deployed a sophisticated and modern missile arsenal that means it can target U.S. and allied military assets in the Asia-Pacific region, including its aircraft carriers and airbases.

"The INF contributed to the end of the cold war and constitutes a pillar of European security architecture since it entered into force 30 years ago", a spokeswoman for the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement.

"I testified before the Senate in opposition to the INF as a result", he recalls, "and sadly I think many of my admonitions have been born out".

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By signing the agreement, Washington and Moscow swore off from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range between 500 and 5,500km.

"It is the American position that Russian Federation is in violation. It is therefore urgent that Russian Federation addresses these concerns in a substantial and transparent manner".

He said negotiations on its terms could hardly take place if Russian Federation denied breaching the terms in the first place. Menendez, who has denounced the Trump administration for not adopting a more confrontational stance against Russian Federation, declared Monday: "There is no doubt that Russian Federation is responsible for the degradation of the INF treaty".

China criticized the United States and warned Washington to "think twice" about withdrawing from the treaty.

Lavrov said he was waiting to hear Bolton's "official explanation" regarding Trump's intentions, adding that for the moment the U.S. side has not initiated the official procedure for exiting the treaty.

Mr Peskov told reporters: "Of course there are weak points in the treaty, but tearing up the agreement without plans for anything new is what we don't welcome". "US withdrawal therefore has the potential to exacerbate current US-EU tensions".

Its demise could raise the prospect of a new arms race and of Europe once again hosting USA land-based ballistic and cruise missiles.

Abraham Denmark, a former senior Pentagon official under Obama, said Guam, Japan and even Australia were possible locations for US missile deployments.

Bell doubted that a withdrawal from the treaty would cause a serious rupture of the current strategic balance. But he said Moscow must take into account "the existing strategic realities". The US government, the corporate media and the major parties have all sought to hide the real danger of a global nuclear conflagration from the broad mass of the population.

"It is the United States that is eroding the foundations and main elements of this pact" with its missile defense capabilities and drones, he said. How are we going to try and counter that? The 1987 pact helps protect the security of the United States and its allies in Europe and the Far East.

Asked about Trump's comments, China's foreign ministry said a unilateral USA withdrawal would have a negative impact and urged the United States to "think thrice before acting".

"We have more money than anybody else, by far". "Until they come to their senses. We think they continue to be the world's central banker of global terrorism", Bolton said, according to a transcript. "Actually, we reduced the role of nuclear weapons to the historic minimum".

The Russian Security Council said on Monday that Moscow was ready to work with the USA to salvage the agreement.

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