Alarmed Trump wants talks with Putin, Xi | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 05, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:31 AM, December 05, 2018

'UNCONTROLLABLE ARMS RACE'

Alarmed Trump wants talks with Putin, Xi

US President Donald Trump on Monday proposed talks with the leaders of China and Russia aimed at halting what he described as an "uncontrollable" arms race.

Trump's comment follows an October announcement in which he said he would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a Cold War deal with Russia to cut missile numbers.

Critics say the move, which has not been finalized, would spark a new arms race with Russia.

In an early morning tweet Monday, the president said: "I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race."

"The US spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!" he added.

The 1987 INF deal did not cover China and was designed to eliminate short- and intermediate-range missiles on Europe's doorstep. A date for the US official withdrawal from the treaty has yet to be pinpointed, leaving room for a possible fix that would likely also have to involve China.

Trump's reference to the Defense Department's "crazy" $716 billion budget underscores something of an about-face for the president. He came into office last year repeatedly saying the US military is suffering massive shortages and vowed a "great rebuilding" of the armed services.

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