(Beijing) "No missiles on our doorstep". China on Tuesday warned the United States against the deployment of new US armaments in the Asia-Pacific, waving the specter of the Cuban missile crisis during the Cold War.
In firm terms, Chinese diplomacy has attacked, without ever naming it, the new head of the Pentagon, Mark Esper, who pronounced Saturday for the deployment "as soon as possible" new American missiles in Asia, to the edge of a tour in the region.
"China will not stand idly by and will be forced to retaliate if the United States is to deploy medium-range land-based missiles in this part of the world," the director-general of the United States warned. Department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fu Cong.
Asked, Fu did not want to say what retaliation Beijing could take, but said "everything is on the table."
Already facing a trade, technological and monetary war with America's Donald Trump, the Asian giant frequently denounces the US military presence in Asia, relayed by the allies are Japan and South Korea.
The senior Chinese official called on these countries, and also Australia, "to be cautious and not to allow US missile deployment on their soil, as this would not be in the interest of their national security" .
"Provocative" and "dangerous"
Asked Tuesday on the Chinese reaction, Esper sought to temper his remarks on Saturday, saying he had not asked any country to host missiles. "We are still far enough," he said. "It will take a few years before we are able to deploy operational missiles."
But while experts believe that Washington could deploy its new missiles on the island of Guam in the Pacific, the senior Chinese official warned that it would be equivalent to install them "at the gates of China".
"If you put missiles on a piece of land like Guam, it will be perceived as a highly provocative gesture by the United States. It would be very dangerous, "he warned in the direction of the Americans.
The warning comes four days after the United States withdrew from the INF disarmament treaty reached during the Cold War between Washington and Moscow to completely ban mid-range land-based missiles (from 500 to 5500 km).
Washington is now free to compete with China, whose arsenal is largely made up of weapons of the type prohibited by the INF Treaty, which Beijing has never been a signatory.
While Guam is about 3,000 km from China, Fu spoke of the specter of the Soviet missile crisis in Cuba in 1962, when the world was on the brink of a major conflict. presence of Moscow rockets so close to its territory (barely 150 km).
Fu denounced the US withdrawal of the INF treaty, calling it "a new proof of unilateralism that can only have negative consequences."
He said China's arsenal and Russia's treaty violations, invoked by the Trump administration to withdraw from the text, are only "pretexts".
"The real reason for the American withdrawal is that it allows the United States to develop its ballistic capabilities," he said.
Fu reiterated that Beijing would not participate in trilateral arms-reduction talks with Russia and the United States, as Washington calls for.
"Given the huge gap between China's nuclear arsenal and that of the United States and Russia, it is not reasonable or fair to expect China to participate in such a negotiation. this stage, "he said.
In the Asia-Pacific zone, Chinese and Americans are defying in particular about the South China Sea, an area claimed by Beijing that has built military installations on islands disputed by other riparian countries.
Washington regularly sends warships to the area in the name of "freedom of navigation," operations routinely challenged by the Chinese government.