(NationalSentinel) Now that a treaty between the United States and Russia banning development and deployment of intermediate-range ballistic missiles is officially dead, the Pentagon will likely deploy newly developed missiles to the Indo-Pacific region fairly quickly, according to Defense Secretary Mike Espy.

“Yeah, I would like to,” Esper told reporters during a trip to Australia this week when asked whether he was considering deploying conventional mid-range missiles to Asia.

Though he would, of course, not provide a timeline, Espy did say he would like to have such systems in place “sooner rather than later” — a sign that planning for deploying new intermediate-range missiles is already well underway, including where they will likely be deployed.

“Esper made his comments after the US formally withdrew from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) with Russia on Friday. Signed in 1987 during the Cold War, the agreement banned all land-based missiles with a range between 500km and 5,500km and their launchers,” RT.com reported.

U.S. intelligence has long known that Russia was violating the treaty for years with the development and deployment of missiles that violated the ban. The Obama administration began considering leaving the INF Treaty over Russian testing of intermediate-range missiles.

Also, Pentagon officials said the treaty hampered its ability to counter a Chinese missile buildup of intermediate-range weapons in Asia since Beijing was never a signatory to the INF treaty.

Espy said the U.S. will need to construct new bases and boost “resilient force posture” in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China.

Espy noted that the U.S. would now “fully pursue” development of intermediate-range ballistic missiles, but in reality, development has likely been underway for some time.

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