The United States and Russia will meet for nuclear talks this month

The United States and Russia will meet for nuclear talks this month

Special envoy for arms control Marshall Billingsla said he and his Russian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, had agreed “on the time and place for the nuclear talks in June”.

The Trump administration has abandoned a series of key arms control agreements, most recently the Open Skies Treaty, in favor of a tripartite agreement with Russia and China. Persistence in a tripartite agreement is widely seen as a way to end the New START, the nuclear deal between the United States and Russia that expires in February 2021. Beijing has rejected calls for participation in tripartite talks.

In his tweet on Monday, Billingslea said China had been invited to this month’s talks, writing: “Will China show and negotiate good faith?”

The arms dealer reiterated last month that he expects a future arms control agreement to be multilateral, telling reporters, “We expect that whatever arrangements are made, the Chinese will be part of a tripartite framework.” . “

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Union of Arms Control, said it was unclear what motivated China to take part in the talks, given the disproportionate size of its nuclear arsenal compared to that of Russia and the United States. The last two countries “hold about 85% of the world’s nuclear weapons” – “more than 10 times the growing number of strategic nuclear warheads, including China, Britain and France,” he said.

In addition, Kimball noted that the administration’s gradual rhetoric toward China in the midst of the corona’s pandemic would not help bring them to the table.

In remarks by the Hudson Institute last month, Billingslea rejected “the idea that China should not be expected to pursue nuclear weapons until it has reached the US and Russian levels” as “an outdated display of the Cold War logic.” “.

Kimball told CNN that the US-Russia meeting to discuss nuclear weapons control was “good, but that’s no reason to celebrate because the Trump administration’s position seems to remain the same.”

“They refuse to accept Russia’s offer to expand the new START,” he said. “It seems that they still require new agreements that cannot be negotiated before the new START expires, not only with Russia but also with China. I don’t jump up and down for joy. “

Last month, Ryabkov described the administration’s approach to the new start as “rather strange” and said “it would be in everyone’s interest” to extend the agreement.

“My view on this is that the chances of maintaining the new ENTRY Treaty are moving quickly to zero, and I think that on February 5, 2021, this treaty will end and end,” he said. The national interest.

Commenting on the Hudson Institute, Billingslea said the administration hoped to avoid “an unnecessarily costly three-way arms race” between the United States, China and Russia, but warned that the United States was willing to “spend.” in oblivion “. to defeat them.

Kimball said the comments reflected “a dangerous philosophy for nuclear weapons,” adding, “No one wins a gun race.”

Ryabkov said Billings’ comments had been taken.

“We will never allow anyone to lead us into a gun race that would exceed our capabilities,” he said. “But we will find ways to maintain that pressure, both in terms of rhetoric and possible action.”

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