U.S. conducts first ground-launched cruise missile test after INF treaty exit
Updated: 2019-08-20 09:24:12 KST
Around two weeks after its exit from the INF Treaty, the U.S. test-fired a ground-launched cruise missile.
The Pentagon said on Monday that the test missile was launched from San Nicolas Island in California on Sunday local time and accurately hit its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight.
The U.S. Defense Department added that data collected and lessons learned from the test will inform its development of future intermediate-range capabilities.
The missile test would've been in violation of the INF treaty, but Washington withdrew from the 1987 agreement with Moscow earlier this month.
Ever since the exit, the U.S. has publicly expressed its hope for possible deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Asia.
"But let's be clear, I'm talking about conventional weapons, INF range I would prefer months."
U.S. mutual defense treaty allies including South Korea, Japan and Australia are considered the prime missile base candidates, but all of these nations have denied any deployment plans at this time.
South Korea's defense ministry said there has been no discussion of placing American intermediate-range missiles in the country and that there's no plan to consider the idea in the future.
Last week, North Korea's KNCA said U.S. missile deployment in South Korea would have negative effects worse than the THAAD deployment.
Beijing also warned that any country that accepts any missile-hosting arrangement would face retribution.
Analysts say it's too early to tell whether the U.S.'s recent missile launch is related to intermediate-range missile deployment in Asia.
However, the latest missile launch and the U.S. interest in deploying missiles in Asia do raise concerns that the U.S. moves may intensify the global arms race.
Kim Da-mi, Arirang News.