U.S. Defense Secretary Says He Favors Placing Intermediate-Range Missiles in Asia

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U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday that he was in favor of placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia relatively soon, a day after the United States withdrew from a landmark arms control treaty.

Esper’s comments are likely to raise concern about an arms race and could add to an already tense relationship with China.

“Yeah, I would like to,” Esper said, when asked whether he was considering placing such missiles in Asia.

“I would prefer months … but these things tend to take longer than you expect,” he told reporters traveling with him to Sydney when asked about a timeline for when the missiles could be deployed.

The United States formally left the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia on Friday after determining Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation that the Kremlin has denied. – READ MORE

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