The United States has offered to hold arm control talks with Russia during a United Nations meeting in Beijing next week that would almost certainly cover a long-running feud over a Cold War-era treaty, a senior State Department official said on Thursday (24 January).
Under Secretary of State Andrea Thompson reiterated that the Trump administration will “suspend our obligations” under the disputed pact if Russia fails to return to compliance by 2 February. But the move is “reversible” and Washington has made no final decision on announcing a full US withdrawal, she said.
“I’m not particularly optimistic” that Russia will return to compliance, she told reporters at a breakfast.
The dispute over the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has added to the gravest US-Russia tensions since the end of the Cold War in 1991. Some experts fear that its demise could undermine other arms control agreements and speed an erosion of the global system designed to block the spread of nuclear arms.
Washington charges that Russia has violated the INF Treaty by deploying the ground-launched Novator 9M729 nuclear-capable cruise missile. The weapon exceeds the pact’s range limit of 500-5,000 km (310-3,106 miles) and targets European allies, Washington contends.
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