BEIJING -- China on Saturday condemned the American decision to withdraw from a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, calling the move "regrettable" in a rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump's call for a broader arms pact that would also bind other nuclear powers like Beijing.
"China is opposed to the U.S. withdrawal and urges the U.S. and Russia to properly resolve differences through constructive dialogue," foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement.
"What is imperative at the moment is to uphold and implement the existing treaty instead of creating a new one," he said.
The U.S. said Friday that it was suspending its participation in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or the INF, accusing Russia of violating the Cold War-era agreement. Moscow announced its own suspension Saturday.
Beijing is particularly wary of Washington's ambitions for a multilateral framework that would include such countries as China, India and Pakistan.
"The multilateralization of the INF Treaty involves a series of complex issues covering political, military and legal fields, which draws concerns from many countries," Geng said.
The White House has not formally announced such an effort. But Trump said Friday that "I hope that we're able to get everybody in a very big and beautiful room and do a new treaty that would be much better."
Moscow's suspension of the treaty Saturday in effect invalidated the arms pact.
"We will respond quid pro quo," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised meeting with the country's foreign and defense ministers. "Our American partners have declared that they suspend their participation in the deal, we suspend it as well."
Putin said Russia will start work on developing new missiles, including a land-based hypersonic intermediate-range one, banned under the treaty.