Trump's missile treaty pullout could escalate tension with China

Washington has accused Russia of violating the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed by US and Russian leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 where it was agreed that both parties would scrap all land-based interm

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are slated to meet in Paris next month on the sidelines of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton confirmed Tuesday.

US national-security adviser John Bolton held talks with Russia's defense minister ahead of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin amid tension over President Donald Trump's warning that Washington will pull out of a landmark nuclear arms treaty with Moscow.

Bolton spoke to Patrushev about the possible USA withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), other nuclear and chemical weapons treaties, the Open Skies Treaty, and regional issues including Iran, North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine and the fight against worldwide terrorism, drug-trafficking and illegal immigration.

President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to discuss Mr Trump's comments in Moscow today with Mr Bolton.

Trump had hailed his earlier private sitdown as a huge success, but critics charged that he was too deferential to the Russian president.

The Kremlin denied any such violation and suggested that it was Washington - and not Moscow - that had failed to comply with the pact. "I think they understand our reasons quite clearly, some of which I think they might fully appreciate from their own strategic perspective".

It bans the United States and Russian Federation from building, testing, and stockpiling ground-launched nuclear missiles with a range from 500 to 5,000 kilometers.

If the USA were to drop out of the INF Treaty and begin producing new ground-based missiles, it could open up another - more risky - strategic front between Beijing and Washington.

"If Russia is doing it (developing these missiles) and China is doing it and we're adhering to the agreement, that's unacceptable", Trump said on Sunday.

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Without the treaty, some European countries fear that Washington might deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe again and that Russian Federation might move to deploy such missiles in its exclave of Kaliningrad which would once again turn Europe into a potential nuclear battlefield.

Putin said: "It would be useful to continue a direct dialogue with the president of the United States. for example in Paris, if the American side is interested".

Trump and Putin held their first bilateral summit in Helsinki in July, after which the USA president came under strong criticism at home for adopting a very conciliatory tone with his Russian counterpart.

In recent years, China has developed "land-based intermediate missiles (capable of carrying conventional and nuclear payloads)", Lee said in a column published Monday on CNN's website. "I think their preference is that they have stayed in this and we do not withdraw, but we are giving them the reasons why we are going do it". Mr. Gorbachev said on Sunday that "dropping these agreements. shows a lack of wisdom" and was a "mistake".

Kelly Magsamen, who helped craft the Pentagon's Asian policy under the Obama administration, said China's ability to work outside of the INF treaty had vexed policymakers in Washington, long before Trump came into office.

On Monday evening, Bolton met with Russia's National Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev as well as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The INF treaty was signed in December 1987 by the then-US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Bolton avoided directly answering questions from press about whether "we'll soon be seeing USA missiles in Europe", saying only that the single country constrained by the INF treaty was the United States. "Scrapping the treaty forces Russian Federation to take steps for its own security".

Trump's announcement has raised concerns globally, with the European Commission urging the United States and Russian Federation to pursue talks to preserve the treaty and Beijing calling on Washington to "think twice".

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