Russia and China have warned about high-level military retaliation to keep the United States in check since the nation suggested a deployment of intermediate-range missiles in its allies right after pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Since Washington’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which was signed between the United States and Russia in 1987, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper implied Saturday that Washington intends to have mid-range missiles deployed in Asian nations including South Korea and Japan. That brought about Russia’s strong response. Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly said that Russia would develop intermediate- and short-range missiles, which have been prohibited under the INF Treaty, if the United States embarks on any development plan, according to Reuters.
China is also increasing its opposing voices. The Chinese Foreign Ministry remarked on Tuesday on Washington’s allies including South Korea, warning that China would never sit on its hands but take fight-back actions against a deployment of U.S. intermediate-range missiles near its territory.
Such a strong warning message from Beijing may imply a possible retaliation that resembles the one caused by the issue of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. Fu Cong, the director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's arms control division, did not mention any concrete counteraction but stated that everything is on the table, suggesting that China could take military and economic action at its disposal. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also warned Monday afternoon that China would not allow its national interests to be hit hard.
Concerns are only increasing that a new Cold War era could arrive with a growing competition for armament after Russia and China mentioned a possible military action. Major foreign media outlets including BBC reported that armament competition is escalating following the death of the INF Treaty, which has been the symbol of the end to the Cold War era.