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Defence & Aerospace

Analyst says US pulls out of INF pact because of China


The US suspended the INF Treaty after saying Russia has violated the pact with its 9M729 missile system (Yuri Kochetkov/EPA, photo from Aljazeera)

Both Washington and Moscow have officially suspended compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

China is to blame, according to a Feb 4 Aljazeera report: “… The pact banned all ground-based missiles with ranges between 500km and 5,500km, ridding Europe of an entire category of destabilizing weapons — nearly 3,000 ground-launched intermediate ballistic and cruise missiles were destroyed.

The treaty does not cover air- or sea-launched weapons, and did not include other powers such as China, North Korea, Iran and Israel, allowing these countries to grow their stockpile of weapons …”

“ … The ‘real reason’ for the US pullout, according to Fitzpatrick, the non-proliferation expert, was Washington’s concern over China’s build up of intermediate-range missiles in the Western Pacific.

China’s inventory contains more than 2,000 ballistic and cruise missiles, approximately 95 percent of which would violate the INF Treaty if Beijing were a signatory, according to US officials. But the INF Treaty prevents the US from placing short and intermediate range missiles on land near China as a deterrent …”

“… However, it was unclear how willing US allies in Asia, such as Japan or South Korea, maybe to host such weapons. So while the US move ‘sends a signal of concern about China, it comes without any plan or response in place,’ said Fitzpatrick. ‘And I think that’s a big danger.’ …”

China, indeed, is a danger to the US. From academics’ Thucydides Trap and Lippmann Gap, to the Trump administration’s listing of China, replacing terrorism, as the top threat of the national security, it is now almost a consensus. China is definitely going to change the prevailing US-based world order, and furthermore, by looking at the recent developments, this change is unlikely to be adaptable to the US. Despite many people’s wishful thinking for peaceful transition, German philosopher Nietzsche suggested that mankind made progress through tragedies. Tragedy is by its nature inevitable.

At this moment, most of China’s missiles’ targets are the Taiwan islands. However, Washington has justifiable arguments that after China’s unification with the islands there, its domination in the South China Sea will present a big challenge to the US hegemony in the West Pacific. There is no guarantee, as the Realists firmly believe, that the communist regime in Beijing will run a peaceful agenda forever. Therefore, it is nonsense to be bound by the INF pact.

We have probably witnessed a milestone in history as the powers are about to enter into a new era of arms race — space weapons, supersonic missiles, AI modeling, drones and robotics …… Children’s enjoyment of video war games and silver-screens’ bloody fights among the superheroes have reminded us of the human nature — a will to power, to power over.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

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About keith K C Hui

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration and the author of "Helmsman Ruler: China's Pragmatic Version of Plato's Ideal Political Succession System In The Republic" (2013).

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