With INF treaty dead, US tests mid-range cruise missile in California

U.S. Defense Department conducts first flight test of land-based cruise missile

U.S. Defense Department conducts first flight test of land-based cruise missile

Critics fear Trump's withdrawal from the treaty and tests like Sunday's set up the USA for a new arms race, particularly as the White House has made no meaningful steps toward creating a framework to impose comparable restraints.

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"It is noteworthy that the test of an advanced Tomahawk-type missile was conducted just 16 days after the United States withdrew from INF, and the treaty was terminated".

As Russia said the United States had "set the course for fomenting military tensions,"China expressed concerns that American actions would "trigger a new round of arms race", making conflict more likely".

Many fear the end of the INF will lead to a new and unsafe nuclear arms race.

The Pentagon says it has successfully tested a new ground-launched cruise missile just weeks after the USA severed the decades-old Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF.

The treaty, negotiated by then-US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, banned land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles (500 to 5,500 km). China - never a party to this pact - has been developing missiles in this range for decades.

He added that Moscow would stick to a unilateral moratorium on such missile systems "if and when we get them, as long as the United States does not deploy them anywhere in the world".

In March 2017, Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a House Armed Services Committee hearing that Russia had deploying a land-based cruise missile in violation of "the spirit and intent" of the INF treaty, adding, "We believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility ..."

The Pentagon said it successfully launched the missile off the coast of California on Sunday.

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In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the test showed the United States was stoking a new arms race and confrontation, which would have a serious negative impact on regional and global security. It forced the superpowers to scrap more than 2,600 land-based missiles with ranges 310 to 3,420 miles - weapons considered destabilizing to the European continent due to their capability to launch a nuclear strike from anywhere without early warning.

Speaking in France Monday before news of the U.S. test launch broke, President Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation would only deploy medium- or shorter-range missiles in response to similar moves by the US. One was placed at Russia's missile test site at Kapustin Yar and another at an unspecified location, The New York Times reported at the time.

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China did not respond positively to the news, saying it wouldn't let the USA put missiles on its "doorstep".

"That should be no surprise because we have been talking about that for some time now", he said.

While some observers see the U.S. wading into a major arms race as it focuses more on great-power competition, others see this as a reasonable strategic evolution in USA military capabilities.

Russian Federation is criticizing the United States for testing a ground-based missile that was banned until three weeks ago.

Earlier this month Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said the United States had already begun work to develop "mobile, conventional, ground-launched cruise and ballistic missile systems".

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