Beijing says Trump administration's decision to pull out from 35-nation treaty including Russia will have a negative impact on international arms control and disarmament.
China has lashed out at the US over its withdrawal from the "Open Skies Treaty" with Russia, saying the move undermined military trust and transparency and imperiled future attempts at arms control.
"This move by the US undermines military mutual trust and transparency among relevant countries, is not conducive to maintaining security and stability in relevant regions and will also have a negative impact on the international arms control and disarmament process," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing on Monday.
The treaty, to which China is not a signatory, had allowed each country overflight rights to inspect military facilities.
That leaves only one arms-control pact still in force between the former Cold War foes, the New START treaty, which limits the number of nuclear warheads each may have.
That treaty will expire in February and the US had said it wasn’t interested in extending it unless China also joined, something Beijing says it will not do.
Today, pursuant to earlier notice provided, the United States withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies is now effective. America is more secure because of it, as Russia remains in non-compliance with its obligations.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 22, 2020
China's advantage in limitations
Critics complain that Beijing has urged other major countries to reach arms control agreements while refusing to take part in any such arrangements, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, that expired last year.
China has taken advantage of limitations set by Russia and the US on each other to keep itself safe and engage in unrestricted development of weapons such as intermediate-range ballistic missiles, bolstering its military's capabilities in the event of a conflict over Taiwan, the Indian border, the South China Sea and other Asian hotspots, critics say.
The INF Treaty "acted as a security guarantee for China: Beijing successfully made use of the mutual limitations imposed by the treaty on Russia and the United States to minimise the military threat to itself," Russian consultant Andrey Baklitskiy wrote in a commentary for the Carnegie Moscow Center last year.
US provides missiles to Philippines
Meanwhile, the US has given precision-guided missiles and other weapons for what it said to help the Philippines battle Daesh-aligned militants and renewed a pledge to defend its treaty ally if it comes under attack in the disputed South China Sea.
US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien attended Monday's ceremony at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, where he announced the delivery of the missiles and bombs to the Philippine military.
US President Donald Trump pledged to provide the $18 million worth of missiles in a phone conversation with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in April, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said.