Sydney: Washington wants to quickly deploy new intermediate-range missiles in Asia, to counter the rise of China in the region, new US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday.
"Yes I would like to," Esper said when asked if the US was considering deploying new medium-range conventional weapons in Asia now Washington is no longer bound by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
"We would like to deploy a capability sooner rather than later," Esper told reporters on a plane to Sydney at the start of a week-long tour of Asia. "I would prefer months ... But these things tend to take longer than you expect."
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump downplayed on Friday North Korea's missile tests, saying that while they may violate a UN resolution, Kim Jong Un will not want to "disappoint" him because he has "too much to lose." Also, As a result of their ongoing trade, China is no longer the top trading partner of the United States and has been replaced by America's neighbours Mexico and Canada, according to a media report.
Meanwhile, A fresh round of sanctions were imposed on Moscow Saturday by the United States over the 2018 poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom. Russian agents have been blamed for the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury in March last year.
Also, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un supervised another test-firing of a new multiple rocket launcher system on Friday.