China vows countermeasures if US deploys missiles in Asia

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP) (Photo credit: MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images)

BEIJING — China said Tuesday it “will not stand idly by” and will take countermeasures if the U.S. deploys intermediate-range missiles in the Indo-Pacific region, which it plans to do within months.

Russia says it plans to deploy such missiles if the U.S. does, as the expiration of a Cold War treaty raised the possibility of an arms race.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said during security meetings in Asia over the weekend that he wanted to deploy midrange conventional missiles in the Asia-Pacific within months.

They would have been banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Russia and the U.S. in 1987. It expired Friday, with Washington saying it withdrew because of Russia’s alleged violations of the pact. Russia denies breaching the terms.

China’s chief arms control official Fu Cong in his remarks Tuesday warned neighboring countries not to allow the U.S. to deploy intermediate-range missiles on their territory.

Australia previously said the locations for the bases were not yet known but it would not be one of them.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia would only deploy new intermediate-range missiles if the United States does and called for urgent arms control talks to prevent a chaotic arms race.

Fu said China had no intention of entering a trilateral arms control deal with the U S. and Russia but would remain engaged in multilateral discussions on disarmament.

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