US missile test proves again its withdrawal from INF treaty long premeditated

China Military Online
Huang Panyue
2019-12-22 11:36:28

The US tests a missile after its withdrawal from the INF Treaty (Photo: AFP)

By Nie Shuyi

The US successfully test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile four months after it withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which proves that its accusation of Russia breaking the treaty in past years and eventually quitting the treaty on that ground is a move long premeditated instead of a “decision of passion”.

News came from the US Department of Defense (DoD) that the US successfully test-launched a medium-range ballistic missile on December 12, local time, the first of its kind after it officially exited the INF Treaty in August and in the past 40 years or so.

Signed in 1987, the INF Treaty prohibits the US and Soviet Union from testing, producing and deploying land-based cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with the shooting range of 500 km to 5,500 km. The US already test-launched a land-based medium-range cruise missile in August successfully, which means that by now, it had tested all the missiles prohibited by the treaty.

US media analyzed that the tested ballistic missile must be modified from the target projectile of America’s anti-missile system. It’s not complicated to modify these target projectiles into land-based medium-range missile of fixed launch, so the US is fully able to complete the modification in a short span of time.

This also implies that in the past 30 years when the US was still implementing the INF Treaty and developing missile defense systems, it has already been making preparations for quitting the treaty, as best evidenced by its ability to successfully test launch the missile in only four months.

So to speak, Washington’s accusations of Moscow breaking the treaty over the past years and eventually quitting the treaty on that ground is a move long-premeditated instead of a “decision of passion”.

On the other hand, this test launch has obvious strategic objectives. The medium-range missile is a threat to America’s anti-missile system, and it cannot accept the reality that the INF Treaty doesn’t restrict other countries in developing and deploying such missiles.Therefore, around its exit from the treaty, Washington kept complaining about its inability to adapt to the changes of global military relations after the Cold War.

Meanwhile, the successful test launch provided technical support for the US to deploy medium-range missiles worldwide. Washington has remarked repeatedly that it will deploy land-based medium-range missile systems in the Asia Pacific, Europe and other hot-spot areas. This will definitely break the current strategic balance in those regions, trigger regional arms race, and consequently threaten regional security and stability.

From quitting the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM) in 2001 to exiting the INF Treaty in 2019, and to the hindered renewal of Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the US is destroying the existing international legal system on arms control and anti-proliferation step by step on the pretext of “protecting national security”.

By test-launching the medium-range missile and planning to deploy it in the future, it is also increasing the risk of inter-state arms race and confrontation and seriously damaging global strategic balance and stability. It is this kind of fragrant unilateralism and hegemony that has eventually turned it into the “troublemaker of the world”.

Disclaimer: This article is originally published on, which is the website of Overseas Edition of the People's Daily. The article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of


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