“These concerns translated into action when the U.S. withdrew from the INF Treaty last August. While Washington blamed alleged violations by Moscow, the primary motive was to counter potential threats from Beijing, according to Elbridge Colby, a former senior Pentagon official who helped author the Trump administration’s National Defense Strategy.
“‘The Chinese aspect to this is far more important for the United States,’ Colby said.
“‘Although it could be beneficial for the United States to have INF Treaty missiles in Europe, especially some shorter-range variants that cannot penetrate deep into Russia, it is far more important and necessary to have them in the Pacific because of the scale of China’s military buildup and the geography of the region.’
“Colby explained that since most American assets in the western Pacific are concentrated on a few bases and ships, placing ground-launched conventional missiles in the region would significantly increase the number of targets China must account for…”