Q: Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on July 29 that countries that are not signed parties to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) are enlarging their arsenals. If this treaty is no longer effective, there must be a new framework covering the US, Russia, China, the UK and France. On the same day, US Secretary of State Pompeo said that he hopes China can be part of the strategic dialogue between the US and Russia, and that China should be part of the relevant agreement. I wonder if you have any response to that?
A: China has made clear its position on the INF Treaty on many occasions.
China is concerned about and opposed to the possible annulment of this treaty due to the US unilateral withdrawal from the treaty. We hope the US and Russia can resolve differences through dialogue and make efforts to preserve the treaty. It will be good for global strategic stability, regional peace and security and mutual trust between major countries.
Regarding the expansion of the INF Treaty, as a bilateral treaty between the US and Russia, its expansion will lead to a series of complex issues covering political, military, legal and other areas. Many countries have concerns about it. China will not agree to it either. The so-called "new framework" proposed by Mr. Kono in its essence is not new at all. It won't help to preserve the INF Treaty. Instead, it only finds or rather gives the US new excuses for its unilateral withdrawal from the treaty.
I'd like to stress that China pursues a defense policy that is defensive in nature. Our purpose to develop intermediate-range missiles is entirely self-defense. We do not intend to and will not pose a threat to any country. The real intention of the US withdrawal is to make the treaty no longer binding on itself. Bringing China into this is just an unreasonable move. China will not accept it. If Japan truly cares for regional security, it should persuade the US not to exit the treaty in the first place.
Mr. Pompeo is also shifting the blames by saying China can be part of the relevant dialogue and agreement between the US and Russia. China stands for the comprehensive prohibition and complete elimination of nuclear weapons. However, nuclear disarmament should follow a basic principle, which is international recognized, that the security of all countries shall not be undermined. The US, as the largest nuclear state, has special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament. The US should earnestly act on the current agreements and continue to drastically reduce nuclear arms. It should create favorable conditions for other countries to participate in nuclear disarmament negotiations instead of shifting blames to others.