U.S. to Suspend Obligations Under 1987 Nuclear Treaty With Russia

from The Wall Street Journal,

U.S. to begin six-month process of withdrawal from Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces pact.

The U.S. will suspend its obligations under a Cold War-era arms control treaty with Russia and said it would begin withdrawing from the pact, after talks to compel Russia to destroy missiles and launchers the U.S. maintains breach the agreement failed, the White House said on Friday. Administration officials have indicated for months that they were willing to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987, and on Thursday, both countries announced that discussions to save it failed.

Friday’s announcement from the Trump administration follows revelations that Russia has expanded its deployment of its Novator 9M729 missile, which Russia insists is fully compliant with the treaty. “The United States has fully adhered to the INF Treaty for more than 30 years, but we will not remain constrained by its terms while Russia misrepresents its actions,” President Trump said in a statement Friday. “We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other.”

In recent months, Mr. Trump and other administration officials also have voiced concern that China, which isn’t party to the treaty, faces no restrictions in developing weapons with intermediate ranges, placing the U.S. at a tactical disadvantage in the Pacific while China’s military influence grows. The end of the INF treaty would allow the U.S. to address the disparity, in the view of White House national security advisor John Bolton and other officials.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) condemned the decision to withdraw from the treaty, accusing the Trump administration of “risking an arms race and undermining international security and stability.”

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