China vows counter-measures if US deploys missiles in Asia

Beijing, August 6

China said on Tuesday it “will not stand idly by” and will take countermeasures if the US deployed intermediate-range missiles in the Indo-Pacific region, which it planned to do within months.

Russia says it plans to deploy such missiles if the US does, as the expiration of a Cold War treaty raised the possibility of an arms race.

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said during security meetings in Asia over the weekend that he wanted to deploy midrange conventional missiles in the Asia-Pacific within months.

They would have been banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Russia and the US in 1987. It expired on Friday, with Washington saying it withdrew because of Russia’s alleged violations of the pact. Russia denies breaching the terms.

China’s chief arms control official Fu Cong in his remarks on Tuesday warned neighbouring countries not to allow the US to deploy intermediate-range missiles on their territory.

Australia previously said the locations for the bases were not yet known but it would not be one of them.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia would only deploy new intermediate-range missiles if the United States did and called for urgent arms control talks to prevent a chaotic arms race.

Fu said China had no intention of entering a trilateral arms control deal with the U S. and Russia but would remain engaged in multilateral discussions on disarmament. AP