The United States has tested a new ground-launched cruise missile, less than three weeks after officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia.
The test was conducted on Sunday from San Nicolas Island, California, the Pentagon said in a release. The cruise missile “exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight. Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities.”
The US withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Moscow earlier this month after years of accusing Russia of violating the treaty via its deployment of its nuclear-capable SSC-8 missile, putting an end to a landmark arms control pact that has limited the development of ground-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
Russia and China have said that the US missile test has heightened military tensions and risks triggering an arms race.
TASS quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying, “The United States has obviously taken the course of escalating military tensions. We will not succumb to provocations. We won’t allow ourselves to be pulled into a costly arms race.”
In Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said, “This measure from the US will trigger a new round of an arms race, leading to an escalation of military confrontation, which will have a serious negative impact on the international and regional security situation.”
[Sources: Military Times, CBS News, The Guardian, CNN]