Russia and China have condemned the US and accused it of ratcheting up global tensions after it tested a ground-launched cruise missile, just two weeks after pulling out of a cold war-era arms treaty that banned the development of such weapons.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov condemned the latest US missile launch, but said Moscow was not looking to start a new arms race, and would not deploy any new missiles unless the US did first.
Moscow said the test proved its claim that President Donald Trump’s administration had long planned to pull out of the treaty in order to develop new medium-range missiles that, it said, presented a threat to Russia if deployed in Europe or Asia.
Beijing also attacked the US for provocative behaviour, warning that the missile test could lead to “another round of the arms race”, and have a “serious negative impact” on international and regional security.
The ground-launched missile, a conventionally-configured version of the nuclear-capable Tomahawk cruise missile, hit its target after over 500 kilometres of flight during Monday’s test, according to Pentagon.
Ground-launched versions of the missile had been removed from service decades ago, after the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty was signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.