BEIJING | China said Wednesday “ready” to join the discussions on us-russia on the reduction of nuclear weapons, as required by the United States, but only if they are committed to “reduce their arsenal to the level of china”, 18 times lower.
Americans and Russians have been at the end of June in Vienna talks to try to prolong the new Start treaty. This bilateral agreement limits the number of their nuclear warheads and expires in February 2021.
The United States wants to include China in the negotiations, saying that its nuclear capacity is growing rapidly. Beijing refuses, pointing to have an arsenal without common measure with the two ex-rivals of the cold War.
The Americans have in 2020 of approximately 5, 800 nuclear warheads, and the Russians of 6 375, compared to 320 for the Chinese, 290 for the French and 215 for the British, according to the international Institute of peace research in Stockholm (Sipri).
“To say that the small number of nuclear warheads possessed by China is a threat to us security, while the United States has some 6,000, it defies all logic,” said Wednesday, Fu Cong, a senior official of the chinese ministry of foreign Affairs.
“I assure you that if the United States say they are willing to reduce their arsenal to the level of chinese, will China be willing to participate in the discussions from the day after”, has stressed in front of the press Mr. Fu, director-general of the department of arms control.
He pleaded for the extension of the new Start treaty and a significant reduction of the arsenals of the Russian and american, only conditions able according to him to bring the other nations with nuclear weapons at the negotiating table.
When asked whether China was reinforcing its nuclear arsenal, Fu Cong declined to comment.
The new Start treaty is the only Russian-american agreement still in force on the arms. The text provides a limitation to 1,550 the number of nuclear warheads.
Call the China to participate is a “sham” of the United States to “make a pretext through which they can withdraw from the treaty,” said Fu Cong.
“Their real objective is to get rid of all the restrictions and have carte blanche to achieve a military superiority over all their opponents, real or imaginary.”
A withdrawal of the United States would probably be a resumption of the arms race.
The us president, Donald Trump has already withdrawn his country from three international agreements in the field: the one about the iranian nuclear treaty, the open Skies (“Open Skies”) to verify the military movements and measures for the limitation of armaments of the signatory countries, and the treaty, INF-missile ground-based medium-range.