US to pull out of Open Skies surveillance treaty

US to pull out of Open Skies surveillance treaty

May 22, 2020

Washington DC (USA), May 22: The administration of US President Donald Trump says it has decided to pull out of a treaty that allows more than 30 countries, including Russia, to conduct surveillance flights over each other's territory.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement on Thursday, saying the United States will the next day submit notice of its decision to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies to countries that are party to it.
Trump said at the White House on Thursday that Washington is pulling out because Russia did not adhere to the treaty. His administration claims Russia illegally restricts flights over areas such as its border with Georgia.
The US will officially leave the treaty in six months. But the Trump administration says it will review its decision if Russia fully abides by the treaty.
The accord was signed in 1992 after the end of the Cold War. Thirty-four countries are party to the treaty that is aimed at helping monitor arms control and other agreements.
US media say advances in reconnaissance satellite technology have made it easier to monitor military facilities and other locations.
This is the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration to pull the US out of arms control treaties.
In February last year, Washington notified Moscow that it would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty due to Russia's alleged violations of it. The treaty expired in August of the same year.
It also remains unclear whether the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty between the US and Russia will be renewed. The Trump administration wants China to participate in the treaty, which is due to expire next year.
Experts on nuclear disarmament say the planned US withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies could spark an arms race.
Source: NHK World