Head of the Russian military Department pointed to the destabilizing nature of the so-called Indo-Pacific initiative of the United States
The restoration of Russia's defence potential, the growing power of China and the expansion of military-technical cooperation between the two powers caused Washington to unilaterally withdraw from the INF Treaty. This was stated by Russian Defence Minister General of the Army Sergei Shoigu during the plenary session of the IX Xiangshan Forum, held on October 21 and 22 in Beijing.
“We are convinced that the real reason that prompted Washington to unilaterally withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is the deterrence of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation”, Sergey Shoigu specified, adding that “the Treaty ceased to be in the interests of the United States amid growing "China’s military and economic power, the restoration of Russia's defence potential and the expansion of military and military-technical cooperation between the two states".
Moreover, as Sergei Shoigu noted, "the United States, accusing Russia of violating the provisions of the INF Treaty, prepared ahead of time for its destruction".
“They created shock unmanned aerial vehicles, used medium-range ballistic missiles as target missiles, deployed MK-41 launchers in Europe, originally designed to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles”, - the Russian Minister of Defence said. According to him, "in the sphere of arms control, a multilevel security system is being destroyed, which for many years has provided stability and a balance of forces".
“This is the US refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and its unilateral withdrawal from the treaties on limiting missile defense systems and the elimination of intermediate and shorter-range missiles”, - said the Head of the Russian military department.
Moreover, the Russian Minister of Defence noted, the United States is highly likely to deploy its strike weapons banned by the INF Treaty in the Asia-Pacific region in order to provoke tension there. “Such a decision will inevitably lead to an arms race, increased conflict potential, and increase the likelihood of incidents”, - said Sergei Shoigu, noting that “countries that agree to deploy medium- and shorter-range missiles on their territory will essentially become hostages of American politics”.
Russia opposes such a scenario, the Russian Defence Minister said. "We are ready for a dialogue to preserve regional stability, develop confidence-building measures and interact with all interested parties", - he stressed.
In the context of all of the above, a number of provisions of the Indo-Pacific Initiative promoted by the United States, which, according to the Head of the military department of the Russian Federation, does not cover all countries of the region and can lead to the formation of “alliances of interests,” which in turn fraught with loosening the functioning system of multilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The involvement of the countries of the region in the Indo-Pacific Initiative not only pushes the geographical boundaries of cooperation, but also involves them in regional conflicts to which they have no relationship”, - Sergei Shoigu explained. According to him, the so-called “partnership” in the initiative will mean for a country in the Asia-Pacific region forced direct participation in the settlement of such conflicts. “At the same time, conflicts taking place outside the region, but representing an urgent problem for the Asia-Pacific states, for example, the return of terrorist militants from Syria, are not covered by this concept”, the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation emphasized.
According to him, in Russia they carefully study the initiatives of colleagues in regional security issues, including in the Asia-Pacific region. “The Russian side shares the idea of forming a free and open partnership in Asia, equal and indivisible security for all states. At the same time, we have questions on some provisions of the initiative proposed by the USA”, - he concluded.
The IX Xiangshan Forum has been held in China since 2006.
This year, heads of military departments from 23 countries of the Asia-Pacific region and Europe participate in it. Six more States are represented by the chiefs of the General staff, and Deputy Ministers of Defence from 17 States attended the symposium.