China Rails at US Sky Treaty Withdrawal11/23 06:24
BEIJING (AP) -- China on Monday lashed out at Washington over its withdrawal
from the "Open Skies Treaty" with Russia, saying the move undermined military
trust and transparency and imperiled future attempts at arms control.
The treaty, to which China is not a signatory, had allowed each country
overflight rights to inspect military facilities.
That leaves only one arms-control pact still in force between the former
Cold War foes, the New START treaty, which limits the number of nuclear
warheads each may have. That treaty will expire in February and the Trump
administration had said it wasn't interested in extending it unless China also
joined, something Beijing says it will not do.
"This move by the U.S. undermines military mutual trust and transparency
among relevant countries, is not conducive to maintaining security and
stability in relevant regions and will also have a negative impact on the
international arms control and disarmament process," Chinese foreign ministry
spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing Monday.
Critics complain that Beijing has urged other major countries to reach arms
control agreements while refusing to take part in any such arrangements,
including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, that expired
Meanwhile, it has taken advantage of limitations set by Russia and the U.S.
on each other to keep itself safe and engage in unrestricted development of
weapons such as intermediate-range ballistic missiles, bolstering its
military's capabilities in the event of a conflict over Taiwan, the Indian
border, the South China Sea and other Asian hotspots, critics say.
The INF Treaty "acted as a security guarantee for China: Beijing
successfully made use of the mutual limitations imposed by the treaty on Russia
and the United States to minimize the military threat to itself," Russian
consultant Andrey Baklitskiy wrote in a commentary for the Carnegie Moscow
Center last year.