When President Trump announced today that his government will terminate the INF treaty with Russia, he cited the growing dominance of China and its proximity to Russia as a factor in his decision to exit the contract. In fact, China’s military prowess in the region has grown significantly.According to SIPRI data
, China has increased its military expenditure by over 700 percent since 1992. At around US$228 billion in 2017, The Chinese spent significantly more than the Russians (around US$66 billion), but their spending was also well below that of the U.S.
(around US$610 billion).
China is not a contracting party in the INF, but Chinese medium-range nuclear missiles have contributed to a strategic disadvantage for the USA. Trump is therefore striving for a trilateral agreement with both China and Russia.
The agreement on Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) was signed in the 1980s between the USA and the USSR for disarmament purposes. It details that both sides must dismantle land-based ballistic missiles and cruise missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,420 miles.