BEIJING, August 2. /TASS/. China opposes the United States’ move to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and believes that Washington should resume compliance with the document, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a briefing on Friday.
"China opposes such actions," she said. "We call on the United States to abide by its obligations," Hua Chunying added.
According to the Chinese diplomat, by violating its international obligations, the United States "actually seeks superiority in strategic weaponry."
"It will seriously affect stability and undermine the global balance of power. Tensions will escalate and mutual mistrust on the international stage will grow," Hua Chunying emphasized, adding that "it threatens security in many regions."
In line with the earlier voiced plans, the US withdrew from the INF Treaty on August 2. Washington has on numerous occasions appealed for making a similar agreement that would involve the US, Russia and China, but Beijing has been ignoring these calls.
INF: from inception to suspension
The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington had repeatedly accused Russia of violating the accord, but Moscow vehemently dismissed all the accusations and, in its turn, expressed grievance over Washington’s non-compliance.
On February 1, 2019, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF starting on February 2. Washington claimed its determination to withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Russia returned to "real and verifiable" compliance.
On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the agreement. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show willingness for an equal and substantive dialogue. Putin signed a decree suspending Moscow’s compliance with the Treaty on March 4. On July 3, the head of state signed the decree into law after it had been approved by both houses of parliament.