“We're opposed to accusations from any country on arms control issues,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said during a press conference, dismissing altogether the possibility of joint talks as “our nuclear forces have been at the lowest level of national security needs and are not on the same scale with the United States and Russia.”
This response comes as U.S. President Donald Trump said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed on Friday the possibility of the new accord that could eventually include China in a major deal between the world’s top nuclear powers.
A rather pressing matter as the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) treaty, the only U.S.-Russia arms control pact limiting deployed strategic nuclear weapons, expires in February 2021. And due to the fact the U.S. has recently withdrawn withdrawn from both the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned could lead to an “arms race” with likely worse consequences than the Cold War.
“China believes it is imperative for countries with the largest nuclear arsenals to earnestly fulfill their responsibility in nuclear disarmament in line with the consensus of the international community...creating conditions for other countries to participate,” the Chinese official concluded.
The New Start treaty can be extended for five years if both sides agree. Without the agreement, it could be harder to gauge each other’s intentions, arms control advocates say.