The US air force one on the skies

The US is now officially out of the Open Skies Treaty (OST), reports said. 

In May, the Trump administration announced the US would withdraw from the said treaty negotiated more than ten years ago.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo announced the country’s formal withdrawal from the OST.

He added that America now is secure because of it.

He also pointed out that Russia “remains in non-compliance” with its commitment. 

What is the Open Skies Treaty? 

The agreement allows 34 party nations to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territories. 

Countries involved in the treaty include the US, Russia, Canada, and various European countries. 

Moreover, it is built to “enhance mutual understanding and confidence” between the party countries’ military forces and activities. 

The US’ 34th President, Dwight Eisenhower, first proposed it as a bilateral agreement with the Soviet Union during a Geneva Conference in 1955. 

Back then, the Soviet Union rejected the idea. The treaty, however, was later on redesigned as a multilateral agreement. 

Fast forward to the 90s, the Soviet Union changed its position, and in 1992, the OST was signed in Helsinki. 

The OST, which was then the “widest-ranging international effort” to promote “openness and transparency” took into effect in 2002.

A U.S. Security Drone

China’s Criticism 

China, who is not a signatory to the treaty,  criticized the US’ withdrawal and said it has undermined “military mutual trust and transparency.”

Also, the act jeopardizes future attempts at arms control.

An Increasing List of Withdrawals

This formalization is another addition to the Trump administration’s list of treaty withdrawals that aims to constrain other countries’ arms and nuclear programs.

For example, in May 2018, the US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a treaty aiming to restrict Iran’s nuclear activities. 

Last year, it also withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the Russian Federation. 

The treaty aims to limit the two nations from deploying “short-range” and “intermediate-range” land-based missiles. 


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