Interview: U.S. exit from INF Treaty a blow to European security

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-31 03:31:55|Editor: Yurou
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By Nathan Morley

BRUSSELS, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- The leader of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has said U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is a huge blow to European security.

Trump has announced that the United States planned to quit the treaty over what it sees as violations of the agreement by Moscow.

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the CND, told Xinhua that tearing up the INF treaty will mark the end of the restraints on nuclear arsenals achieved in the 1980s.

"The INF Treaty was achieved largely as a massive result of popular protest against cruise and Pershing missiles over a number of years, and this needs to be reignited. Failure to do so and to defend the gains of the Treaty will ultimately result in nuclear war," Hudson told Xinhua in an interview from London.

CND advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Hudson describes the abandonment of the accord as a "dangerous and destabilizing move" with the potential revert the world back to the worst days of the Cold War. The historic Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as INF, was signed by former U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

"It meant cruise missiles were removed from Britain and Pershing, cruise and SS-20 missiles from continental Europe.... It will open the way for the return of cruise-type missiles to Europe -- and the increased potential for nuclear war on our continent," Hudson said.

When enforced, the pact eliminated all ground-launched nuclear missiles with a range of 300 to 3,000 miles and aimed at the total destruction of over 800 U.S. missiles in Europe and 1,700 Russian missiles in Asia and Europe.

"I would say that it (the accord) will be very difficult to save because of President Trump's unilateral contempt for international law, but it may be possible if the rest of the international community remains resolute in its support for the Treaty, and if there is a powerful civil society response," Hudson said.

The pact was widely credited with strengthening the U.S. and its allies' security, whilst enhancing global stability and bringing in stringent arms control.

This possible abandonment of the accord has stunned President Trump's critics and supporters, as the U.S. pledged to increase its nuclear stockpile, whilst unraveling the existing framework for nuclear control.

"It unleashes the possibility, not only of a spiraling nuclear arms race, but of greater numbers of U.S. nuclear weapons coming to Europe. We must stand resolutely against this return to the nuclear escalation of the Cold War and CND calls on all peoples once again to reject these moves," Hudson added

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he wants to discuss the arms treaty with Trump when the two meet in Paris on Nov. 11.