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INF nuclear treaty: Trump says new pact should include China

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US President Donald Trump has said he wants a new nuclear pact to be signed by both Russia and China.

Mr Trump said he had spoken to the two countries about the idea, and that they were both “very, very excited”.

His comments came after the US withdrew from a key nuclear treaty with Russia, raising fears of a new arms race.

The Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banned missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 km (310-3,400 miles).

The US withdrawal on Friday followed accusations by Washington that Russia had violated the pact by deploying a new type of cruise missile. Moscow has denied this.

Responding to questions about how he would avoid a nuclear arms race following the INF treaty’s demise, Mr Trump said his administration had been speaking to Russia “about a pact for nuclear, so that they get rid of some, we get rid of some”.

“We’d certainly have to include China at some point,” he added.

Mr Trump said such a treaty would be “a great thing for the world” and that he believed it would happen.

“China was very, very excited about talking about it and so was Russia. So I think we’ll have a deal at some point”, he told reporters.

The US has accused Russia of violating the deal by deploying a number of 9M729 missiles – known to Nato as SSC-8. This accusation was then put to Washington’s Nato allies, which all backed the US claim.

“Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Friday.

“With the full support of our Nato allies, the United States has determined Russia to be in material breach of the treaty, and has subsequently suspended our obligations under the treaty,” he added.

In February, Mr Trump set a 2 August deadline for the US to withdraw if Russia did not comply with US and Nato demands.

Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended his country’s own obligations to the treaty shortly afterwards.

BBC

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