"The United States withdraws again." U.S. President trump announced Thursday that the U.S. side decided to withdraw from the open sky treaty because Russia did not comply with the relevant provisions of the treaty.According to the New York Times, after Trump came to power, the United States has successively withdrawn from the two international arms control agreements, the Iran nuclear agreement and the China Missile Treaty. Therefore, people have reason to doubt that this is in preparation for refusing to extend the new strategic arms reduction treaty, which will expire next year. In essence, this treaty has become the only arms control treaty between Russia and the United States.
Both the States parties to the open skies treaty and the United Nations have expressed concerns about the withdrawal of the United States, which will seriously threaten the security and stability of the European region.
"There is a good chance of reaching a new agreement with Russia"
U.S. Secretary of State John pompeio confirmed Trump's statement Tuesday and said he would send an exit notice to other States parties on Tuesday. Pompeio said that Russia has repeatedly violated the open skies treaty and used it to achieve expansion purposes, including refusing other Member States to fly over Russia controlled Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and controlling Crimea airspace. In this case, it is not in the interests of the United States that the United States continues to perform as a member of the treaty. But he also left room for a turnaround, saying the US would reconsider its decision to withdraw if Russia could fully implement its obligations. Trump's comments later Thursday seemed to be tempered. On the one hand, he insisted that if Russia failed to perform its obligations, the United States would withdraw. On the other hand, he also called "the relationship between the United States and Russia is very good", and "there is a great chance of reaching a new agreement" with Russia.
The open sky treaty, signed in 1992, is one of the measures to strengthen mutual trust in Europe after the cold war. After its entry into force in 2002, the States parties may conduct unarmed aerial reconnaissance on each other's territory to check their implementation of the international arms control treaty, so as to enhance military transparency. According to the agreement, States parties must notify other countries at least six months before they intend to withdraw. At present, 35 countries, including Russia, the United States and many European countries, have signed the treaty.
"The trump administration has broken the law"
"Russia has not violated the provisions of the open skies treaty." Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grushko stressed on the 21st that the open sky treaty is a multilateral treaty, the unilateral withdrawal of the United States will affect the interests of all parties, and it is a heavy blow to the basis of European security and the still effective military security tools. "Russia's position is that as long as the open skies treaty is in force, we intend to fully comply with all the rights and obligations granted by the treaty," Grushko said. We expect that all other states will also take seriously the obligations of the parties themselves. " Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman zaharova said Monday that Russia has not received a formal notice and detailed description of the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty. Therefore, at present, the intention of the US side cannot be evaluated.
How to fully implement the open sky treaty? The answer is not clear. According to US defense news, Ford, assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation affairs, told reporters that the Russian side has imposed time limit on flights over Kaliningrad, but has not completely banned related flights. Although this is detrimental to the purpose of the treaty's confidence building mechanism, it is not a "direct breach".
There are different responses in the United States to the trump administration's withdrawal from the open skies treaty. Some analysts believe that Russia's profit from the treaty is greater than that of the United States, which is in its own interest to withdraw. But Democrats have been vocal in their criticism of the trump administration. Engel, a Democrat and chairman of the house of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said the move would directly damage U.S. security. Engel said the U.S. defense authorization law requires the Secretary of state and defense chief to notify congress at least 120 days in advance before withdrawing from international treaties. It is illegal for the trump administration not to do so. Former CIA director Hayden also strongly opposed the U.S. withdrawal from the open sky treaty, calling it a "Crazy" decision.
European allies try their best to prevent the U.S. from withdrawing
"German Foreign Minister Max wants to save this treaty," German news agency said, MAS 21 for the United States announced the withdrawal of the open sky treaty expressed extreme regret. "We will work closely with our allies to urge the United States to reconsider this decision." MAS said that Germany, France, Poland and the United Kingdom have explained to the United States many times that Russia does have difficulties in implementation in recent years, but this cannot be a reasonable reason for the withdrawal of the United States. MAS said the treaty, which has contributed to security and peace "almost throughout the northern hemisphere", is now bound to be weakened by the withdrawal of the United States. He also called on Russia to resume full implementation of the treaty. Since its entry into force in 2002, the treaty has carried out more than 1500 observation flights. NATO countries will hold an emergency meeting on the 22nd to discuss the development of the situation. European allies hope to prevent the United States from withdrawing.
"At the expense of European security this time," commented star weekly on Tuesday, saying that Russia may also withdraw after the US withdraws from the open sky treaty. This means that another treaty to maintain Europe's peace will "exist in name but not in reality", laying new hidden dangers to Europe's security. Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden and the Czech Republic issued a joint statement on the 22nd, expressing regret at the withdrawal of the United States, and urging Russia to start a dialogue with Member States as soon as possible.
As for the reasons why the United States decided to withdraw from the treaty, vaitz, an expert of the "Valdai" international debate club of Russia, said: first, the United States can obtain the same information by using satellites and other technical means; second, the United States will need more than $100 million to modernize the aging aircraft for flight monitoring; third, the United States government believes that Russia is not completely Compliance with the treaty. Russia may also withdraw in the future, but this is not in Russia's interest, because Russia will not have the opportunity to monitor US military base activities in Europe.