Russia, China seek UNSC session missile issue

China does not have as many nukes as the US or Russia: Envoy

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UNITED NATIONS/ MOSCOW

Russia and China have asked the United Nations Security Council to meet on Thursday over statements by US 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.

The Pentagon said on Monday it had tested a conventionally configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight, the first such test since the United States pulled out Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). US Defense Secretary Mark Esper was asked in a Fox News Channel interview on Wednesday whether the test was aimed at sending a message to China, Russia or North Korea 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. Esper was also asked about a rocket test accident in Russia this month which US officials believe was associated with the Kremlin’s hypersonic cruise missile program.

China trails behind the United States and Russia as far as the number of nuclear weapons it possesses is concerned, new Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui told Russian newswire.  According to the diplomat, it is absurd to point to China in order to justify Washington’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. As for the amount of nuclear weapons China has, it is way less than what the US and Russia have. In no way can that be compared, he stressed.

The INF Treaty is a bilateral agreement between the US and Russia that account for more than 90% of the world’s nuclear arsenal, the envoy said. He noted that China saw no need for its participation in the American-Russian nuclear disarmament negotiation process.

According to the ambassador, the US and Russia bear special responsibility for nuclear disarmament and must continue to reduce their nuclear arsenals in order to lay the groundwork for other countries with nuclear weapons to join a multilateral nuclear disarmament process.

 

Beijing expects all parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program to take their obligations seriously, new Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui said.

The INF accord, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington accused Russia of violating the deal on numerous occasions, but Moscow firmly dismissed all accusations, countering the US claims by expressing grievances over Washington’s non-compliance.

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