Washington, Aug 4 Defence Secretary Mark Esper has announced that the United States will deploy the intermediate-range missile system in Asia-Pacific within the next few months to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to its allies in the region.
This announcement comes after after the US pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
“It’s fair to say, though, that we would like to deploy a capability sooner rather than later,” Esper told reporters.
Esper was accompanying US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on an international tour, Esper and Pompeo is in Australia for the meeting on Sunday.
“I would prefer months. I just don’t have the latest state of play on timelines,” added the new head of the Pentagon, who took office on July 23.
Esper avoided specifying the locations where this missile system will be established.
“I don’t see an arms race happening, I do see us taking proactive measures to develop a capability that we need for both the European theater and certainly this theater,” he said.
Esper said he chose Asia as the destination of his first international excursion “to affirm our commitment to the region, to reassure our allies and our partners.”
At that meeting, Pompeo warned of the Asian giant’s “coercion” of neighbouring countries, while his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, demanded that US should not interfere or “sow distrust” among the nations involved.