China to counter U.S. deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Asia
Updated 07:49, 07-Aug-2019

China will take countermeasures if the U.S. deploys intermediate-range missiles in Asia, said Fu Cong, director general of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, at a press conference on Tuesday.

China expressed its deepest regret over the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and warned it has a very direct impact on the global strategic stability, peace and security in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and increase the risk of an arms race. 

A clear stance

Fu said China is not interested in participating in the trilateral negotiations proposed by the U.S., between America, Russia, and China, calling the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty another act of unilateralism and another withdrawal from its international obligations.

"Let me be very clear, we are firmly opposed to the U.S. deployment of intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region. If that happens, China will be forced to take countermeasures. So we call on the U.S. to exercise restraint, and our neighbors to exercise prudence in not allowing the U.S. to deploy the missiles in their territories as it is not in their own national security interests."

"China is not interested in participating in the so-called trilateral negotiations proposed by the U.S. We believe that since the U.S. and the Russian Federation possess the largest amount of nuclear weapons, they bear the primary and special responsibility when it comes to nuclear disarmament," Fu noted. 

He also emphasized that China will not participate in any arms race, adding that given the huge gap between the Chinese nuclear arsenal and that of the U.S. and the Russian Federation, it is unreasonable and unfair to expect China to join in at this stage.

U.S. using China as excuse on INF

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday in Australia that he was in favor of placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia relatively soon, possibly within months.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday that for some time the United States has been using China as an excuse with the INF Treaty and other issues, hyping up the so-called "China's missile threat" in total disregard of the facts. This is just what the United States always does to shift blame to other countries, the spokesperson added.

China's new ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said on Saturday that China regrets the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty and expressed doubt about joining the U.S. and Russia in a nuclear deal.

(CGTN's Liu Yang also contributed to the story.)