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China opposes US withdrawal from landmark nuclear pact

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-02-02 22:14

BEIJING - China opposed the United States' withdrawal from a decades-long Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

"China opposes the withdrawal of the United States and urges the US and Russia to properly settle their differences through constructive dialogue," spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Saturday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday announced that the United States will suspend its compliance to the nuclear treaty from Saturday, which will trigger a six-month countdown period leading to a permanent exit from the pact inked in 1987 between the United States and the then-Soviet Union.

"As an important bilateral treaty in arms control and disarmament, the treaty is of great significance for smoothing relationships between major powers, promoting international and regional peace, and safeguarding global strategic balance and stability," Geng said while expressing regret for the withdrawal.

The unilateral withdrawal of the United States will possibly trigger a series of negative outcomes, and China will closely follow the latest developments, he said.

In response to a question about China's stance on the negotiation of a new multilateral treaty on arms control, Geng said that China is opposed to the multilateralization of the treaty.

Multilateralization of the treaty involves a series of political, military and legal issues that are complicated, and many countries are quite concerned, Geng said.

"The top priority is to safeguard and implement the existing treaty well, rather than drafting a new one to replace the old one," he said.

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