China Unlikely To Join Nuclear Talks Unless Russia, US Cut Nuke Arsenals -Arms Control NGO

China Unlikely to Join Nuclear Talks Unless Russia, US Cut Nuke Arsenals -Arms Control NGO

China will not join any negotiations on nuclear arms control until Russia and the United States reduce their significantly larger arsenals, Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, told Sputnik on Monday, adding that talks on such an agreement would likely take years

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 06th May, 2019) China will not join any negotiations on nuclear arms control until Russia and the United States reduce their significantly larger arsenals, Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, told Sputnik on Monday, adding that talks on such an agreement would likely take years.

US President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday that he would soon launch bilateral talks with Russia on a new nuclear arms control deal that could see both sides reduce their arsenals, adding that the negotiations could eventually be expanded to include China. Beijing responded to the suggestion by saying that it had no intention to join any talks.

"It is not surprising that China would express skepticism. China is estimated to possess a total of 300 nuclear warheads, has never been party to any agreement that limits the number or types of its nuclear weaponry. Beijing is highly unlikely to engage in any such talks until the United States and Russia significantly cut their far larger arsenals, estimated at 6,500 warheads each," Kimball said.

According to Kimball, expanding arms control arrangements to other actors and all types of nuclear weapons is an "important and praiseworthy objective."

"But Donald Trump does not appear to have a practical plan to negotiate such a far-reaching deal.

Even if [he] did, negotiations would likely take years," Kimball said.

He noted that a prompt agreement extending the US-Russia New Strategic Arms Reduction (START) Treaty before its expiration in 2021 would help Washington to conclude an arms control deal with Beijing and Moscow.

"Not only is New START crucial to maintaining verifiable caps on the world's two largest nuclear stockpiles, but it would provide a necessary foundation and additional time for any follow-on deal with Russia that addresses other issues of mutual concern, and New START extension could help put pressure on China to provide more information about its nuclear weapons and fissile material stockpiles and agree to cap its nuclear stockpile," Kimball said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Monday that Moscow lacked a clear understanding of the US position on the possibility of negotiating an extension for New START and expected Washington to clarify.

The New START agreement, which came into force in 2011, covers a 10-year period with the possibility of a five-year extension. The agreement limits the number of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, nuclear armed bombers and nuclear warheads.

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