President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday that the United States would outspend Russia on missiles without a fresh international accord after he ditched a landmark Cold War treaty. Trump’s warning during his annual State of the Union address cemented fears of an emerging arms race, with Russia hours earlier pledging to design new missiles over the next two years. The United States last week started the process of exiting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, saying that Russia has been violating the pact through a new missile system and ignored repeated complaints.
“Under my administration, we will never apologize for advancing America’s interests,” Trump told US lawmakers assembled in the House chamber. “Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others. Or perhaps we can’t –- in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far,” Trump said. While pointing the finger at Russia, US officials have voiced concern that the 1987 treaty does not constrain China, whose rapidly growing military relies on medium-range missiles as a core part of its defense strategy.
The INF treaty banned all missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,400 miles), a legacy of the end of the Cold War as last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US president Ronald Reagan sought to ease European fears of an arms race that would destroy their cities. Russian President Vladimir Putin — who has sought a warm relationship with Trump but is widely reviled by the US establishment — responded Saturday by saying Moscow would also leave the INF treaty.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier Tuesday that Putin had approved plans for new missiles. “During 2019-2020 we have to develop a land-based version of the seaborne Kalibr system equipped with a long-range cruise missile which showed good results in Syria,” Shoigu told defense officials. “Over the same period we will also have to create a land-based missile system with a longrange hypersonic missile,” he said.
This article provided by NewsEdge.