UPDATED 11:40 AM PST – Sat. August 3, 2019
Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he is in favor of deploying intermediate-range missiles in Asia, just a day after the U.S. pulled out of the arms control treaty with Russia.
During a visit to Australia Saturday, Esper said he would like to see missiles in place within months, but noted such a process would take more time.
He also assured that the recent withdrawal does not mean the beginning of a new arms race.
“Right now, we don’t have plans to build nuclear-tipped INF range weapons. It’s the Russians who have developed non-compliant likely, possibly, nuclear tipped weapons, so I don’t see an arms race happening.”
On Friday the U.S. officially withdrew from the intermediate nuclear forces treaty with Russia, claiming that the Kremlin failed to comply with the agreement.
Russia reportedly denied the accusations.