Chinese envoy deeply regrets, firmly opposes U.S. withdrawal from INF Treaty

2019-08-07 01:51:34 GMT2019-08-07 09:51:34(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

GENEVA, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs, Li Song, on Tuesday said China deeply regrets and firmly opposes the United States' withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in disregard of international opposition.

Li Song presented China's position and proposition on the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty at the Conference on Disarmament.

Since the U.S. officially announced its withdrawal on Aug. 2, Li said that senior officials of the U.S. Defense Department have publicly stated that the U.S. will seek to resume the development and deployment of the intermediate-range missiles.

This fully demonstrates that the withdrawal from the INF Treaty is another negative move by the U.S. to pursue unilateralism in disregard of its international commitments, the Chinese envoy said.

"Its real intention is to make the Treaty no longer binding on itself so that it can unilaterally seek military and strategic edge," Li said.

"If the U.S. adopts the above irresponsible unilateral measures, it will severely undermine global strategic balance and stability, intensify tensions in international relations, undermine strategic mutual trust of major countries, disrupt international nuclear disarmament and arms control processes, and threaten peace and security in relevant regions," the Chinese envoy added.

Li said that like the vast majority of members of the international community, China is deeply concerned about the negative developments.

While withdrawing from the INF Treaty, the U.S. declared that the U.S.-Russian bilateral nuclear disarmament era has ended, and once again raised the issue of China's participation in multilateral nuclear arms control negotiations with the U.S. and Russia.

"The U.S. claim is a complete diversion from international attention. China has no intention to participate in such negotiations and will not be made part of it," Li said.

The Chinese envoy stressed that China's nuclear strategy for self-defense is completely transparent; its nuclear policy is highly responsible, its nuclear arsenal is extremely limited in scale, and never poses threats to international peace and security.

"China did not, does not and will not engage in any nuclear arms race with any country," Li noted.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 between the former Soviet Union and the United States on the elimination of ground-based intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles. The scrap of the treaty threatens to drag the two major military powers back into a Cold-War-style arms race.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement expressing his "deep regret" at the ending of the INF treaty, and warned that "the world will lose an invaluable brake on nuclear war".

Li Song called on the international community to stay clear of the grave consequences of the U.S. withdrawal, and to prevent the U.S. from shifting its own special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament under any pretext.

The Chinese envoy urged the U.S. to exercise restraint, not to take actions that undermine the security interests of other countries, fulfill its due international responsibilities as a major power and earnestly safeguard the global and regional peace and security.

He stressed that this is the common voice of the international community.

Li pointed out that China supports and encourages the U.S. and Russia to maintain dialogue on strategic security and bilateral nuclear disarmament issues and make their necessary efforts to extend the new start.

The differences between the U.S. and Russia on the implementation of the nuclear disarmament treaties should be resolved through dialogue and negotiation, Li said, adding that it is neither right nor possible to address them by withdrawing from or breaching the treaties.

"As the powers possessing the largest nuclear arsenals, the U.S. and Russia are obliged to continue substantially reducing their nuclear arsenals in a verifiable, irreversible and legally binding manner," the Chinese diplomat noted.

He stressed that it is the important guarantee for maintaining global strategic stability, international peace and security, and the international arms control and non-proliferation regime, which will also create the necessary conditions for advancing the multilateral nuclear disarmament process. 

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