USA pullout from nuclear treaty with Russian Federation also targets China

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These include China's DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), which has a maximum range of 4,000 km (2,500 miles) and which the Pentagon says can threaten US land and sea-based forces as far away as the Pacific island of Guam.

Not all U.S. military officials have agreed, however, that the USA needs to counter Beijing's build-up of land-based missiles with weapons of its own banned under the INF Treaty.

President Donald Trump warned the world on Monday that the United States meant to expand its nuclear arsenal if Russian Federation and China continued to build up their own stockpiles.

Kelly Magsamen, who helped craft the Pentagon's Asian policy under the Obama administration, said China's ability to work outside of the INF treaty had vexed policymakers in Washington, long before Trump came into office.

It was negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ratified by the US Senate and the Russian Duma.

"Alleging that Russian Federation has violated this treaty for several years, Feinstein said the U.S. must take strong diplomatic actions to address that violation". However, the fate of the latter is also uncertain, with US National Security Advisor John Bolton saying on Monday that Washington has yet to finalize its position on the treaty.

Bolton had talks in Moscow with Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's Security Council, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Dan Blumenthal, a former Pentagon official now at the American Enterprise Institute, said a treaty pullout could pave the way for the United States to field easier-to-hide, road-mobile conventional missiles in places like Guam and Japan.

The so-called 1987 INF Treaty banned land-based missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres in an effort to prevent highly destabilising missiles that could be armed with nuclear warheads from being deployed along the borders of Europe.

The Kremlin denied any such violation and suggested that it was Washington - and not Moscow - that had failed to comply with the pact. The time has come to set the Treaty aside and develop alternative avenues toward the security the treaty once provided, " Risch said.

Bolton, however, said Britain, Japan, and a number of other countries supported the United States position.

"Talking about China on the issue of unilaterally pulling out of the treaty is completely mistaken", spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Its demise could raise the prospect of a new arms race, and Gorbachev, now 87, has warned that unraveling it could have catastrophic consequences. The 1987 pact helps protect the security of the United States and its allies in Europe and the Far East.

Putin and Trump will both be in Paris on November 11 to attend commemorations marking 100 years since the end of World War I.

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