China vows countermeasures if US deploys missiles in Asia

China has an estimated 290 nuclear warheads deployed, compared to 1,600 for Russia and 1,750 for the US. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 August 2019

China vows countermeasures if US deploys missiles in Asia

  • “China will not stand idly by and be forced to take countermeasures” if the US sends missiles to Asia
  • The US Defense Secretary said he wanted to deploy midrange conventional missiles in the Asia-Pacific within months

BEIJING: China said Tuesday it “will not stand idly by” and will take countermeasures if the US deploys intermediate-range missiles in the Indo-Pacific region, which it plans to do within months.
The statement from the director of the foreign ministry’s Arms Control Department, Fu Cong, follows the US’s withdrawal last week from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a move Fu said would have a “direct negative impact on the global strategic stability” as well as security in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Fu said China was particularly concerned about announced plans to develop and test a land-based intermediate-range missile in the Asia-Pacific “sooner rather than later,” in the words of one US official.
“China will not stand idly by and be forced to take countermeasures should the US deploy intermediate-range ground-based missiles this part of the world,” Fu told reporters at a specially called briefing.
He also advised other nations, particularly South Korea, Japan and Australia, to “exercise prudence” and not allow the US to deploy such weapons on their territory, saying that would “not serve the national security interests of these countries.”
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in Asia over the weekend that he wanted to deploy midrange conventional missiles in the Asia-Pacific within months. Australia previously said the locations for the bases were not yet known but it would not be one of them.
Fu also said China had no intention of joining nuclear weapons reduction talks with the US and Russia, pointing to the huge gap in the size of China’s arsenal compared to those of the other two. China has an estimated 290 nuclear warheads deployed, compared to 1,600 for Russia and 1,750 for the US, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for urgent arms control talks to prevent a chaotic arms race following the treaty’s demise. He also said Monday that Russia would only deploy new intermediate-range missiles if the United States does.
China has already shown “maximum restraint” in developing its arsenal and stuck to its policy that it would not be the first to use a nuclear weapon in a conflict, Fu said.
“I don’t think it is reasonable or even fair to expect China to participate in an arms reduction negotiation at this stage,” Fu said, but added that China remained committed to multilateral efforts to reduce nuclear stockpiles such as the UN’s Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, although it has yet to ratify that agreement.
Fu wouldn’t elaborate on what countermeasures China was considering taking against the US, saying only that “everything is on the table,” although he did say China has never and would never take part in a nuclear arms race.
Nor would he say how China might retaliate against countries that hosted US land-based intermediate-range missiles, although China has in past used economic means to retaliate against South Korea over its deployment of a US anti-missile defense system known as THAAD.
Fu dismissed US arguments for leaving the INF as “pure pretext,” saying Washington was merely looking for an excuse to develop new weapons. If it truly believes Russia is cheating on the treaty, as it says, than the way forward is to negotiate rather than withdraw, Fu said.
Meanwhile, Washington’s argument that it is threatened by China because 80 percent or more of Chinese missiles fall into the intermediate-range category doesn’t hold up, since those missiles would be unable to reach the continental US
“So the US would be the least to worry if that is the case,” Fu said. “That shows that all of this is nothing but a pretext.”
They would have been banned under the INF Treaty signed by Russia and the US in 1987. It expired Friday, with Washington saying it withdrew because of Russia’s alleged violations of the pact. Russia denies breaching the terms.
The end of the INF Treaty comes amid rising doubts about whether the two countries will extend an agreement on long-range nuclear weapons scheduled to expire in 2021 known as New START. President Donald Trump said he has been discussing a new agreement to reduce nuclear weapons with China and Russia.
“And I will tell you China was very, very excited about talking about it and so was Russia,” Trump told reporters. “So I think we’ll have a deal at some point.”
Asked about Trump’s comments, Fu said he didn’t wish to contradict Trump, but repeated that China “has no interest and, frankly, we don’t think we are even in a position to participate in a trilateral negotiation aimed at a nuclear arms reduction.”


Philippines’ Duterte threatens to end military deal with the United States

Updated 23 January 2020

Philippines’ Duterte threatens to end military deal with the United States

  • Duterte vented his anger over the US decision to deny entry to Ronaldo dela Rosa
  • US embassy in the Philippines did not explain why his visa had been canceled

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned the United States on Thursday he would repeal an agreement on deployment of troops and equipment for exercises if Washington did not reinstate the visa of a political ally.
Visibly upset, Duterte vented his anger over the US decision to deny entry to Ronaldo dela Rosa, a former police chief who is now a senator.
Dela Rosa said the US embassy in the Philippines did not explain why his visa had been canceled but that he believed it was most likely because of allegations of extrajudicial killings during his more than two-year term as police chief.
Dela Rosa was the chief enforcer of Duterte’s anti-narcotics crackdown, which has resulted in deaths of more than 5,000 people, mostly small-time drug dealers. Police say victims were shot by officers in self-defense.
“If you do not do the correction, one, I will terminate the bases, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA),” Duterte said in a wide-ranging speech before former Communist rebels. “I am giving the government and the American government one month from now.”
The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), signed in 1998, accorded legal status to thousands of US troops who were rotated in the country for military exercises and humanitarian assistance operations.
Delfin Lorezana, Duterte’s defense minister, declined to comment when asked if he agreed with the president’s plan.
Duterte makes no secret of his disdain for the United States and what he considers its hypocrisy and interference, though he acknowledges that most Filipinos and his military have high regard for their country’s former colonial ruler.
The United States is the Philippines’ biggest defense ally and millions of Filipinos have relatives who are US citizens.
Last month, Duterte banned US senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy from visiting the Philippines after they introduced a provision in the US Congress.
The provision calls the ban on US entry to anyone involved in locking up Philippine senator Leila de Lima, a former justice minister and Duterte’s top critic who was jailed in 2017 on drug charges after leading an investigation into thousands of deaths during the anti-narcotics campaign.
She has won numerous awards from human rights groups, which consider her a prisoner of conscience.
The US Embassy in Manila could not immediately be reached for comment outside office hours.