US Seeks to Deploy Intermediate-Range Missiles in Asia 'Sooner Rather Than Later' - Secretary of Defence
12:46 03.08.2019(updated 13:28 03.08.2019)
The US officially withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on 2 August after suspending it in February. Both Washington and Moscow have accused each other of violating the accord, but the US decided to abandon the deal, refusing to negotiate the issue with Russia.
US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper announced on Saturday that he is in favour of deploying American ground-launched intermediate-range missiles in Asia.
"We would like to deploy a capability sooner rather than later", the official told reporters on a plane to Sydney at the start of his week-long tour to the Asia-Pacific region. "I would prefer months ... But these things tend to take longer than you expect".
He didn't specify the destination of the weapons, noting that Washington usually discusses such issues with its allies.
The United States announced in February that it would be suspending its obligations under the INF Treaty, claiming that Russia had violated it by developing the 9M729 missile.
Moscow has denied the allegations and noted that US defence systems placed in Europe are equipped with launchers capable of firing cruise missiles at ranges prohibited under the treaty. After several attempts to start talks with Washington, President Vladimir Putin signed a retaliatory decree halting Russia's participation in the accord.
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