Europeans Criticize Trump Plan to Quit Arms Pact


"We have paid attention to the relevant statement made by US President Donald Trump and his adviser John Bolton regarding China in the context of the INF treaty", ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a daily press briefing on Tuesday.

Putin said his last meeting with Trump in Helsinki in July was useful, adding that he would be open to meet with Trump in France if he agrees. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it posed "difficult questions for us and for Europe" because the treaty was "an important pillar of our European security architecture".

He mentioned possibly meeting Trump in Paris next month.

Trump said he planned to pull the US out of the treaty due to the alleged Russian Federation violations and also because China, which wasn't part of the pact, has intermediate-range missile capability.

In another sign of the tensions, at the start of their meeting, the Russian leader asked Bolton if the eagle on the seal of the USA, which clutches olive branches in one claw and arrows in the other, "has eaten all the olives, leaving only arrows?" Laughing, Putin asked if the eagle ate all the olives.

While Europe is concerned about its own safety, both the U.S. and Russian Federation have expressed concern over Chinese missile proliferation in Asia, which is not limited by the INF Treaty.

But scrapping the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty also serves another key Trump goal: intensifying military pressure on China.

Signed in 1987 by United States president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, it bans missiles that can travel distances of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.

"And I don't foresee that (Nato) allies will deploy more nuclear weapons in Europe as a response to the new Russian missile", he added.

Russian analyst Dmitry Oreshkin said: 'We are slowly slipping back to the situation of Cold War as it was at the end of the Soviet Union ... but now it could be worse because Putin belongs to a generation that had no war under its belt.' Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said: 'Once the United States withdraws from the treaty, there is no reason for Russia to even pretend it is observing the limits.

The US President wants to quit the pact which bans medium-range nuclear missiles because Moscow has violated it "for many years".

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow remains ready to work with the save the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday the increased North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military activities near Russia's western border will force it to take countermeasures.

Putin made an acerbic reference to the United States coat of arms at the start of his meeting with Bolton.

On Saturday, the U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull the country from the landmark treaty with Russian Federation, citing the latter's noncompliant behaviors.

The INF Treaty has since been hailed as a major success-mostly by Europeans.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Tuesday that right now "there are no prospects for a new deal" to replace the INF and that it is a "dangerous position" to give up the INF treaty without an alternative in sight.

Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton is in Moscow this week to discuss security cooperation with Russian Federation and is expected to meet Putin later on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump waves to a crowd before leaving a campaign rally on Saturday, Oct 20, 2018 in Elko, Nev. It would risk intensifying a growing U.S. military rivalry with Beijing and Moscow, both of which are likely to deploy new weapons to counter any United States buildup, critics say.

Fresh doubts about the INF treaty are a stark reminder of the way tensions between NATO allies and Russian Federation soared in the 1980s during the so-called Euromissiles crisis, when the United States deployed cruise missiles in Europe to counterbalance a perceived threat from Russia's SS-20 nuclear warheads.

National Security adviser John Bolton held high-level talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, directly confronting Moscow's anger over USA plans to withdraw from a landmark arms control treaty in place since the Cold War.

Wrapping up two days of talks in Moscow, Bolton said he told his Russian interlocutors that Moscow's meddling has been "particularly harmful for Russian-American relations without providing anything for them in return".