By Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner–
President Trump warned China and Russia not to seek to win an arms race with the United States, and instead proposed negotiations to expand a recently scrapped nuclear arms control pact.
“We really have no choice,” Trump said of the decision to withdraw from from the 1987 INF Treaty. “Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can’t — in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week that the United States would withdraw from the treaty — which bans land-based intermediate-range cruise missiles — due to Russian violations of the pact in recent years. The treaty applies only to the former Cold War arch-enemies, while China has been free to develop such weapons unrestricted by the accord.
Beijing has rejected even preliminary suggestions for a negotiation to expand the deal.
“It would involve a series of complicated political, military and legal issues to make the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty multilateral, and many countries remain concerned about this,” Geng Shuang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Saturday.“A higher priority is to maintain and fully implement the existing treaty rather than establishing a new one.”
China’s development of the otherwise-illicit weapons has spurred congressional calls for a rapid rollout of the land-based cruise missiles.
“Now this action must be backed by American firepower,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said after Friday’s announcement. “The United States must regain the strategic advantage by expediting the development and deployment of a new generation of ground-launched missiles.”