Terminated arms control treaty has repercussions worldwide

By Choe Yong Nam

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a recent interview with a newspaper said it was his view that Western countries would eventually realize that global and regional security and stability would be bolstered up only when they strictly abided by international law.

Pundits commented his remarks were highly suggestive of Russia’s dissatisfaction with the US that is complicating international relations as it pursues a unilateral and self-righteous line.

Russia sees that the Americans seek freedom of action in the military field through the abrogation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and by other means and regards such a US policy as a premeditated act of wrecking the strategic security structure of the world.

Back on August 2, the US completely withdrew from the INF Treaty, claiming that Russia deployed for action cruise missiles with ranges of 2 000 to 5 000 kilometres in recent years, or more specifically the 9M729 missile, which the Americans say exceeds the range stipulated in the treaty.

Sixteen days after its withdrawal from the treaty, the US test fired the Tomahawk ground-based cruise missile.

According to information available, the missile is an improved version using the MK-41 launcher which has been employed in the missile defence systems in Romania and Poland. Therefore, it was confirmed that the launcher can be used not only in the anti-missile system but also in the attack-oriented system at any time.

Tomahawk is known to have a range of over 2 499 kilometres. This means that the vast areas of the Russian territory in the European direction will be placed within the radius of the US’ intermediate-range cruise missile.

MK-41 is said to be an all-round launcher that can be used in launching the SM-3 interceptor missile and various cruise missiles.

Russia has misgivings about the US’ deployment of ground-based cruise missiles with a range of over 500 kilometres in Asia and Europe.

“If the US positions such a system anywhere in Asia or Europe, the system will cover our territory and pose a direct threat to Russia,” said the chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council.

The MK-41 capable of launching US ground-based cruise missiles is already in position in some European countries and it is expected that the launcher will be deployed extensively in NATO member nations in Eastern Europe.

The NATO Secretary General on September 11 asserted that Russia was deploying nuclear missiles in Europe. Russia retorted that his remark was nothing more than an excuse for justifying the deployment of intermediate-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads in NATO countries.

There is also a strong possibility that US intermediate-range missiles will be deployed in Asia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned in a plenary meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum on September 5 that if US missiles were deployed in Japan and south Korea, it would be a serious threat to Russia and a large proportion of the Russian territory including the Far East would be placed within the range of those missiles. He added that though his country was also producing a similar type of missiles, it would not site them ahead of the US.

His remarks imply that the real wrecker of the global strategic security structure can be identified once again by seeing who deploys such missiles first.

What is clear at present is that instability factors are growing to threaten world peace and the risk of worldwide clash is being heightened as the days go by.

(Pyongyang Times - November 8, 2019)
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