Fears of a fresh arms race

(VOVWORLD) - Two weeks after the US withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and revealed a plan to deploy intermediate-range missiles in Asia, the Pentagon said on Monday that it has tested a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of more than 500km. The move has surprised the international community as it raises new fears of an arms race.
Fears of a fresh arms race - ảnh 1Scott Howe/DoD/AFP | US Department of Defense (DOD) handout photo on August 18 shows when the Defense Department conducted a flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California. 

The Pentagon said the tested weapon is a conventionally configured ground-launched version of the Tomahawk cruise missile used by the US Navy. It was launched from San Nicolas and hit a target 500km away, which is the range limit of the INF.

A missile test after years of honoring the INF

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said the US is no longer bound by the INF and has already begun work to develop “mobile, conventional, ground-launched cruise and ballistic missile systems.” The Department of Defense will fully pursue the development of these ground-launched conventional missiles. Army undersecretary Ryan McCarthy said the Pentagon is pushing hard on hypersonic nuclear weapons.

The Pentagon has revealed a plan to test ballistic missiles with a range of 3000 to 4000 km late this year, but without nuclear warheads.

Fears of an arms race

The US’s ground-launched cruise missile test, previously banned, might be the first shot of a new arms race. It’s definitely a move to strengthen the US’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific.

Russia and China have strongly condemned the test and warned of serious consequences. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday that it’s regrettable and the move could trigger escalating military tensions. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not commented on the test, but said Moscow will start developing short and intermediate-range land-based missiles.

China accused the US of ramping up military tensions with its new missile test, and stoking fears of a fresh arms race. Instead of abandoning a cold-war era pact, the US should be moving toward global peace and stability. The UN on Thursday convened an emergency meeting to discuss the US’s intermediate-range missile plans.