Russia, China seek UN Security Council meeting on U.S. missile developments

Publish Time: 2019-08-23 Author: From: CGTN

Russia and China have asked the United Nations Security Council to meet on Thursday over "statements by U.S. officials on their plans to develop and deploy medium-range missiles." 

Moscow and Beijing want to convene the 15-member council under the agenda item "threats to international peace and security" and have requested that UN disarmament affairs chief Izumi Nakamitsu brief the body. 

On Monday, the Pentagon said it had tested a conventionally configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) of flight, the first such test since the United States pulled out of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). 

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper was asked in a Fox News interview on Wednesday whether the test was aimed at sending a message to China, Russia or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and indicated that the main concern was China. 

"We want to make sure that we, as we need to, have the capability to deter Chinese bad behavior by having our own capability to be able to strike at intermediate ranges," he said. 

Esper said on a visit to Australia this month he was in favor of placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia relatively soon. 

China was not a party to the INF treaty, and it has repeatedly said it will not be a party of a joint treaty. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday that the U.S. test showed the United States was stoking a new arms race and confrontation, which would have a serious negative impact on regional and global security. 

Geng said that the U.S. should "let go of its Cold War mentality" and "do more things that are conducive to... international and regional peace and tranquility."

Esper was also asked about a rocket test accident in Russia this month which U.S. officials believe was associated with the Kremlin's cruise missile program. 

"Clearly they are trying to expand their strategic nuclear arsenal to deal with the United States," he said, adding that all such new weapons would have to be included in any future strategic arms reduction treaty. 

"Right now Russia has possibly nuclear-tipped ... INF-range cruise missiles facing toward Europe, and that's not a good thing," he said. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday the United States was in a position to deploy a new land-based cruise missile in Romania and Poland, a scenario he considered a threat that Moscow would need to respond to. 

Washington formally withdrew from the landmark 1987 pact with Russia on August 2 after determining that Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation the Kremlin has denied. 

(Cover: U.S. Department of Defense conducts a flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, August 19, 2019. /Reuters Photo)

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