New US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States wants to accelerate the deployment of new missiles in Asia in the coming months to contain the expansion of Chinese influence in the region.
"I do not see an arms race happening but I think we are taking proactive measures to develop the capabilities we need for the European regions and that region," Esper said in a flight to Sydney.
US President Donald Trump said any new treaty on nuclear missiles should include China and Russia, a day after Washington announced its formal withdrawal from the short- and medium-range nuclear missile treaty.
Senior US officials said on Friday that the deployment of any such weapons would take years, but the United States is expected to conduct tests in the next few weeks to launch cruise missiles from land.
US officials have for years warned that the United States is in a vulnerable position over China's deployment of increasingly sophisticated missiles launched from land and the Pentagon's inability to match them as a result of the treaty with Russia.
For its part, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Beijing's opposition to the withdrawal of the United States from the Treaty of short and medium-range nuclear missiles, noting that the US move is to ignore Washington's international obligations.
The spokeswoman said the United States ignored its commitment and took unilateral measures to achieve military superiority, and warned China of the impact of the withdrawal on stability and strategic balance in the world, and the process of nuclear disarmament.
China's new envoy to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said his country refused to take the United States to justify its withdrawal from the medium and short-range missile elimination treaty and said it was impossible to compare the obligations of his country and the more armed nations.