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China vows to counter US mid-range arms deployment in Asia

China vows to counter   US mid-range arms deployment in Asia

Beijing: China said Tuesday that it "will not stand idly by" and will take countermeasures if the US deploys intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region, which Washington has said it plans to do within months.

The statement from the director of the foreign ministry's Arms Control Department, Fu Cong, follows the U.S.'s withdrawal last week from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a move Fu said would have a "direct negative impact on the global strategic stability" as well as security in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Fu said China was particularly concerned about announced plans to develop and test a land-based intermediate-range missile in the Asia-Pacific "sooner rather than later," in the words of one US

official.

"China will not stand idly by and be forced to take countermeasures should the U.S. deploy intermediate-range ground-based missiles this part of the world," Fu told reporters at a specially called briefing.

He also advised other nations, particularly South Korea, Japan and Australia, to "exercise prudence" and not allow the U.S. to deploy such weapons on their territory, saying that would "not serve the national security interests of these countries."

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in Asia over the weekend that he wanted to deploy midrange conventional missiles in the Asia-Pacific within months. Australian officials said Monday that the locations for the bases were not yet known but their country would not be one of them.

Fu also said China had no intention of joining nuclear weapons reduction talks with the US and Russia, pointing to the huge gap in the size of China's arsenal compared to those of the other two.

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