Russia, China express concern over US’ test of cruise missile; call for restraint in arms race

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Moscow, August 20: Russia on Tuesday accused the United States of piling military tensions by conducting a test of a land-based cruise missile, but added it won’t be drawn into an arms race, state-run TASS news agency reported.

The Pentagon has on Monday conducted a ground-based cruise missile that struck its target after covering 500 kilometres (some 310 miles) in the range – first such launch since the demise of the landmark 2015 international arms treaty.

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “All this elicits regret, the United States has obviously taken the course of escalating military tensions. We will not succumb to provocations,” adding, “We won’t allow ourselves to be pulled into a costly arms race.”

The International Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banned the use of ground-based missile with a range between 500 km to 5,500 km, further eliminating the capability of both nations to conduct a nuclear strike.

Ryabkov stated despite the launch, Moscow did not seek to deploy new missiles, unless Washington did so first.

In Beijing, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang expressed deep concern over US missile conduct, saying the launch depicted the US was piling a new arms race, as well as, confrontation – expected to have serious negative impact over global and regional security.

“We advise the U.S. side to abandon outdated notions of Cold War thinking and zero sum games, and exercise restraint in developing arms,” Geng told a daily news briefing.

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