UN chief regrets INF demise

New nuclear treaty should include China: Trump

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UNITED NATIONS/WASHINGTON: United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed his deep regret that the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and Russia came to an end. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the UN chief recalled that he had “consistently called on both the United States and Russian Federation to resolve their differences through the consultation mechanisms provided for in the Treaty and regrets they have been unable to do so.
In 1987, US and Soviet Union leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF treaty to eliminate land-based nuclear missiles and medium-range arsenals from Europe. Guterres noted that “in the current deteriorating international security environment, previously-agreed arms control and disarmament agreements are increasingly under threat. Since its entry-into-force on June 1, 1988, the Cold War-era arms control contributed tangibly to the maintenance of peace and stability internationally and especially in Europe, playing an important role in reducing risk, building confidence and helping to bring the Cold War to an end.
According to news reports, both sides walked away from the pact, each blaming the other for its demise and triggering fears of a new arms race. The Secretary-General emphasises the need to avoid destabilising developments and urgently seek agreement on a new common path for international arms control, the statement said. Guterres calls on Russia and the US to extend New START and to undertake negotiations on further arms control measures, it concluded.
On the other hand, the US President Donald Trump said he wants a new nuclear agreement to be signed by both Russia and China, replacing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty from which the US withdrew over the weekend. Trump said he had spoken to the two countries about the idea, and that they were both very, very excited.
The Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banned missiles with ranges of 500-5,500km. The US withdrawal on Friday followed accusations by Washington that Russia had violated the pact by deploying a new type of cruise missile a charge denied by Moscow.
Responding to questions about how he would avoid a nuclear arms race following the INF treaty’s demise, Trump said his administration had been speaking to Russia about a pact for nuclear, so that they get rid of some, we get rid of some. We’d certainly have to include China at some point, he added.
Trump said such a treaty would be a great thing for the world and that he believed it would happen. China was very, very excited about talking about it and so was Russia. So I think we’ll have a deal at some point, he told reporters.

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